A Manhattan woman who says she was fired from her job after she returned from the March on Washington in 1963 is looking forward to returning to the Lincoln Memorial for the 50th anniversary celebrations. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
June Terry is anxious to board a bus bound for D.C. this weekend, just like she did some 50 years ago when she left her Brooklyn home to participate in the March on Washington. But the great-grandmother has bittersweet memories, because when she returned to her bank job after the massive political rally in 1963, she was abruptly fired.
"They asked me to sign a paper that I was a communist," she said. "I said, 'Why should I sign a paper I'm a communist?' 'Well, you went to that march. That was a communist movement."
Terry said she was no stranger to hostility in the workplace in New York City because she was a freedom rider in the '50s and '60s and a member of the civil rights group CORE, short for the Congress of Racial Equality.
Though it divided some, she vividly remembers how political rally also brought so many people together.
"As far as you could look was people," she said. "I'd never seen that many people in my life."
Terry was so amazed by the enormous crowds that she filmed the scene on her brand new Bell & Howell 8-millimeter camera. She can be seen in the video in a red dress with a white collar.
She called Dr. King's speech mesmerizing.
"When Martin Luther King started speaking, there was something that went over the whole entire crowd. Like, everybody got quiet," she said. "It's only when he said 'I have a dream' that everybody just, it was so emotional."
Now, at 82, June Terry is leaving her apartment on Manhattan's West Side to do it all over again. This time, she can take pictures with her cellphone.
"It's going to be a different feeling, it's going to be a feeling now that we are coming back to celebrate 50 years after the march on Washington," she said. "I think it's going to be a beautiful thing."