Augustans travel to Washington for march anniversary

Friday, Aug 23, 2013 10:33 PM
Last updated Saturday, Aug 24, 2013 2:06 AM
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Shantrice Patten chatted with friends in the parking lot of Wal-Mart on Deans Bridge Road while she waited for the bus that would carry her to the nation’s capital for the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington led by Martin Luther King.

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Dr. Charles Smith, Sr., checks off passengers as they board a bus at Walmart. About 60 passengers took the trip from Augusta to participate in the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.   TODD BENNETT/STAFF
TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Dr. Charles Smith, Sr., checks off passengers as they board a bus at Walmart. About 60 passengers took the trip from Augusta to participate in the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Small talk was just about all the North Augusta resident could muster, though. The thought of the sights and sounds she would see left her overwhelmed.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me,” she said. “I signed up for it automatically. I’m just speechless.”

Patten was just one of 55 people who left Friday night for Washington to participate in the 50th Anniversary March on Washington Rally to be held today.

The trip was organized by Charles J. Smith Sr., president of Augusta’s NAACP chapter, who had been planning it since the start of the year.

The trip wasn’t just for Augustans, Smith said. Washington, Greene, Morgan and Coffee counties were all represented by the time the large charter bus rolled into the parking lot. One participant drove more than 3½ hours to Augusta to catch the bus.

“We all want to make sure (King’s) dream becomes a reality forever,” he said. “Thousands of people marching arm in arm to Dr. King’s statue sitting over the Potomac River is going to send a message to the world. Everybody that you see here, we want them to be empowered.”

Behind Smith stood Sean Harris, of Augusta, rifling through his belongings before the bus arrived. Amid a great deal of noise, he pulled out an extremely large shirt covered with campaign-style buttons.

“People will want to take pictures with me,” he said, letting out a big laugh. “I kind of enjoy it.”

Harris said he made 3,000 buttons for the trip. Some featured King’s face next to President Obama’s. Another was intended as a commemorative pin for people attending the rally.

Harris said he will sell the buttons for $3 a piece.

“I kind of want to take part in history and do something too,” he said, picking up a commemorative pin. “This is for someone who, 20 years down the road, can say ‘I was there.’ ”

About 7:30 p.m., a large white bus lumbered into the parking lot. Smith stood at the steps of the bus and conducted a roll call as young and old filed in.

Before departing, Smith said he hopes that the participants from Augusta will bring back more than just memories.

“Let’s come back to Augusta-Richmond County and see what we can do to make this place a better, unified community,” he said. “We cannot abandon hope, and we will not abandon the dream.”

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lddist
101
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lddist 08/24/13 - 07:47 am
2
0
Wow. 3000 pins at $3 each.

Wow. 3000 pins at $3 each. That's a nice tax free payday. Gotta love the entrepreneurial spirit.

I'm Back Again
307
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I'm Back Again 08/24/13 - 08:08 am
0
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You gotta love how 55 black
Unpublished

You gotta love how 55 black people got on a white bus. I was just wondering: has there not been another back person since MLK that's done anything notable and worth fighting for? Everybody wants to talk about MLKs dream. Don't people still dream today? Surely someone has come up with some new fresh ideas in the last 50 years. It's kinda silly to me now. Equality is a mind set - Not a status!

I'm Back Again
307
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I'm Back Again 08/24/13 - 08:19 am
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AC. Good job on the pictures.
Unpublished

AC. Good job on the pictures. 13 pics and 11 are of the button guy. Not much thought put into those shots huh? We're you running late for dinner or something?

GnipGnop
12234
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GnipGnop 08/24/13 - 12:40 pm
3
0
It's a shame that the a lot of leaders of the black community

teach everything counter to Dr. King's dream. If he were alive he would hang his head in shame at what his dream has become....

nocnoc
42557
Points
nocnoc 08/24/13 - 01:23 pm
3
0
Who will the speakers going to be?

Will they phrase how far things have come in 50 years?

Will they challenge those gathered to accept the Melting pot tradition of America?

Will non-black Politicians be allowed to hijack and showboat
the event like: Hillary, Kerry, Gore, Biden and Obama?

Just what will be the tone of the gathering be:
peace, or demands with strategies?

The above are all questions I have.

To me:
This is a great opportunity to summarize the great accomplishments Dr. King died for. So the Black & White communities could be 1 community.

It is also opportunity lay out a new set of POSITIVE Goals on what needs to be accomplished, for the total integration into a now accepting American Society.

Pops
8436
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Pops 08/24/13 - 05:47 pm
2
0
I love it.....

"Will non-black Politicians be allowed to hijack and showboat
the event like: Hillary, Kerry, Gore, Biden and Obama?"

I bet it would make you sick to see all the above jostle to out "King" all the other ones.......

Pops
8436
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Pops 08/24/13 - 06:59 pm
1
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Nice empty rhetoric there fellow......

“Let’s come back to Augusta-Richmond County and see what we can do to make this place a better, unified community,” he said. “We cannot abandon hope, and we will not abandon the dream.”

"hope"......."dream"........darn.....I feel so good.......

Darby
25642
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Darby 08/24/13 - 10:55 pm
3
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"Harris said he made 3,000 buttons for the

trip. Some featured King’s face next to President Obama’s."

Sort of like putting Mother Teresa next to Chris Matthews.

Darby
25642
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Darby 08/26/13 - 12:42 am
1
0
They've now done to Martin Luther King and

his legacy, what others have done to the Gettysburg battle site, Elvis' Graceland home in Tennessee and others. Turned the whole affair into a three ring circus.

They are disgusting!

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