Annapolis Home To Nation’s First Foot Soldier Memorial

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the movement he led is remembered Wednesday, for the first time, so are the hundreds of Marylanders who joined him on the March on Washington.

Christie Ileto has more.

Among a sea of names listed on three granite panels, Lynda Gross found her father’s name on the nation’s first “foot soldier” memorial, standing solid in Annapolis Wednesday.

“It’s really touching [to see his name],” Gross said.

Not often recognized for their contributions are the ordinary men and women who journeyed to the Washington Mall, displaying extraordinary courage to fight for change in their own communities despite threats of violence.

“It was just unbelievably beautiful. There was tranquility; there was cohesiveness,” said Hannah Chambers.

While some foot soldiers reflect on the historic past, others take in right now.

“I feel proud of all the people that participated and that stood up for what they believed in,” said Derek Fiedler.

The location of the memorial was picked because it was a spot where area marchers decades ago met buses to take them to Washington.

“The YMCA used to be on this spot and that’s where the buses met to take folks to the march so it was quite fitting this be an appropriate place for the monument,” said Sheila Finlayson, who chaired the site committee.

Over the last year, the Martin Luther King Jr. committee has been working to erect the memorial and track down Maryland’s foot soldiers so their stories and names, forever etched in stone, serve as a reminder to future generations that social change only happens when many unite.

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