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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Dreams of '63

Retired pastors recall march to Washington and King's speech

ride to Washington, D.C., with three parishioners. He joined approximately 1,000 Lutherans from all over the country at the march, where 80 percent of the protesters were African-American.

When the invitation came to join the march on Washington for racial equality on Aug. 28, 1963, Kuehne said there was no question about going.

He traveled to Manhattan with Robert E. Johnson, a junior at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., who later was ordained. The other two, John Hart, a New York City Fire Department lieutenant, and Wilbur Hamje, a Jamaica [N.Y.] High School music director, are deceased. But on that day, the four boarded buses outside St. Luke Lutheran Church in Times Square.

Harald K. Kuehne
Harald K. Kuehne, Long Island, N.Y.
At the Lincoln Memorial, they were among approximately 200,000 people—all hot and tired after a long day. But the crowds perked up when King spoke, Kuehne said.

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