Memorial to Foot Soldiers of 1963 March on Washington unveiled

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was marked August 28. To commemorate this milestone, the Annapolis-based Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Committee, Inc. unveiled the nation’s first memorial to the 250,000 ‘foot soldiers’ of the March—the ordinary citizens who risked the threat of personal harm to magnify the impact of the words of the civil rights leaders who spoke that day.

The unveiling of the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial in Annapolis’ Whitmore Park on the corner of Clay and Cavert Streets (the site of a bus depot from which Annapolis residents traveled to the March) included the names of more than 500-foot soldiers.

Speakers at the unveiling of the 2 ½ ton granite memorial included Sen. Ben Cardin; Congressman John P. Sarbanes; Congress-woman Donna F. Edwards; Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler; Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman; Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen; Chairwoman of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus Delegate Aisha Braveboy; and Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee Chair Carl Snowden, a local foot soldier. Many of those named on the memorial attended. Live and recorded gospel and pop music of the period was performed.

The foot soldiers honored on the memorial come not only from Annapolis, but from all over Maryland as wells as other parts of country. These men and women played an important role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“We honor those leaders and ‘soldiers’ in the war against racial discrimination that made possible the second Emancipation Proclamation to end racial segregation and discrimination, just as the first Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 led to the end of slavery in the US,” said Carl Snowden, chairman of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee.

The committee has successfully placed two other memorials to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Anne Arundel County—both funded by private donations. A bronze statue of King was erected at Anne Arundel Community College in 2006 after the committee raised more than $250,000. In 2011, the committee dedicated a plaque and garden tribute to Dr. King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, at Sojourner Douglass College in Edgewater, Md. (just south of Annapolis).

Snowden spearheaded both these efforts. He envisions that the most recent monument will not only commemorate the contributions of ordinary citizens, but also educate and hopefully inspire another generation to take up the cause of equality for all people.

The committee has raised $20,000 of its $50,000 goal for the three-paneled 13’x7’ granite monument. For more information, or to contribute online, go to or send a check, made out to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee Inc., to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Committee, P.O. Box 371, Annapolis, Md. 21404. All donations are tax deductible.

Monitor the progress and stay abreast of the latest news about this important project on Facebook at or call 443-871-5656.