WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Fifty years ago today, a young baptist minister shared his dream for his four little children with millions on the National Mall. The March on Washington will be remembered Wednesday with an interfaith service at one of D.C.'s oldest African American churches. The service is followed by a commemorative march to the Lincoln Memorial.
Early Wednesday morning, WUSA 9's Delia Goncalves spoke to Reverend Dr. Wallace Charles Smith, the pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church.
Rev. Smith told us, "Dr. King did a sermon here back in 1960. The African-American tradition is a big thing. We still have pictures of him and the former pastor Dr. Harrison and for the original march, I asked several weeks ago for members who had been there to stand. I guess maybe 50 people stood. It was just amazing that that many people were still alive and vital and very much involved in the struggle."
The church decided to host the service with just two weeks notice. Originally, it was supposed to be at the memorial.
"We're glad to do it. They weren't going to have it at the memorial because I think they wanted a more religious environment. Whatever the reasons, we're just glad to do it, glad we can be of service," said Smith.
Smith also talked about the importance of gathering people of different ages, religions, ethnicities and race in the conversation about race and about civil rights and the modern day movement.
"Because that was really the heart of Dr. King's theology. He really saw himself as someone who was speaking for all people, not just to ... African-Americans. Although clearly, the African-American cause was most prominent in his mind and certainly in the minds of a lot of people in those days. His overall goal, his dream was that people would see that justice is not just for any one community but justice is for everyone," shared Smith.
The service begins at 9 and runs roughly two hours.