March on Washington: John Wilson remembers historic event

Photo: Archives Foundation via Flickr

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Fifty years ago, the late Johnie Wilson of Northeast Washington walked down to the National Mall with his 8mm camera and his then 15-year-old son, John.{ }

"My dad took pictures of everything," John says. "He went to a lot of black awareness and civil events."

John says he was amazed that in that crowd, his dad managed to find his uncle, James Stamper, who came down to Washington by bus with an NAACP group from New York.

Ten years ago, ABC7 met up with John and his dad to mark the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington. Johnie Wilson said the march gave northern blacks an opportunity to participate.{ }

"At the time I had a family and I was working and couldn't attend massive marches in Alabama and the other places," Johnie said. "They were coming here. It was my chance I could get right there with it."

His son said he was amazed at how much progress blacks had made 40 years after the march, but his dad did not see it that way.

"You're at the bottom then, you're at the bottom now," Johnie told him.{ }

"I'm very proud I was able to participate in something that subsequently was a historic event," John says of the March on Washington.{ }