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Annapolis Memorial Honors 1963 Civil Rights 'Foot Soldiers'

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The memorial remembering the 'foot soldiers' of the March on Washington is housed at Annapolis Whitmore Park.
Elliott Francis
The memorial remembering the 'foot soldiers' of the March on Washington is housed at Annapolis Whitmore Park.

Maryland officials and civil rights activists unveiled the first memorial dedicated to the "foot soldiers" of 1963 March on Washington Wednesday.

The foot soldiers were ordinary citizens who marched and organized their friends, family, and neighbors in support of civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today many surviving local foot soldiers from that era gathered in Annapolis to watch the unveiling of the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial.

Fifty years ago, more than 250,000 foot soldiers helped organize the March on Washington. Many were often threatened with violence. The two and a half ton memorial contains the names of more than 500 foot soldiers from the Washington region such as Joyce Bayden who gathered a group of her college friends and traveled to the 1963 march from Norfolk, Va.

"The idea of being able to see Dr. King was phenomenal, and all of us making the trip together hoping things would change," Bayden says. "We had to do whatever we could to try and speak to the government, to try and make some changes."

The black granite memorial is located on the corner of Clay and Calvert streets in Annapolis Whitmore park.

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