Tension, dissent brewed for months before march

On Wednesday, Aug. 28, 1963, more than a quarter-million people converged on the nation’s capital to demand an end to racial discrimination in what historians agree was the ultimate expression of American democracy: citizens petitioning their government for change.

But when Clarence Holmes boarded one of six chartered buses leaving Cleveland for the March on Washington, he had no idea what to expect.

“I was hoping that there would be a good turnout, but there was no way to know,” said Holmes, then president of the Cleveland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The above excerpt was originally published in USA Today.