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Oklahomans Recall Participating In March On Washington

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For many, today is a day to speak of Dr. Martin Luther King's Legacy and of problems still to overcome. Oklahomans who participated in sit-in's in the late 1950's and early 1960's say today is also a reminder of how far this country has come. For many, today is a day to speak of Dr. Martin Luther King's Legacy and of problems still to overcome. Oklahomans who participated in sit-in's in the late 1950's and early 1960's say today is also a reminder of how far this country has come.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Across the Nation is one of reflection: Thousands of people crowded the National Mall Tuesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the "March on Washington".

President Barack Obama says we've come a long way with civil rights but the job is not done.

"The measure of progress for those who marched 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks could join the ranks of millionaires," said President Obama. "It was whether this country would admit all people who were willing to work hard, regardless of race."

Oklahomans who took that historic trip to DC, are speaking about their experiences during the Civil Rights movement.

For many, today is a day to speak of Dr. Martin Luther King's Legacy and of problems still to overcome. Oklahomans who participated in sit-in's in the late 1950's and early 1960's say today is also a reminder of how far this country has come.

"Our World, His Dream: Freedom – Make it Happen." That was the message at the annual Let Freedom Ring "Bell Ringing" Commemoration Tuesday at the state Capitol.

"We were trained to understand about equality and equity," said Ayanna Najuma.

Oklahoma City native Ayanna Najuma was just 12-years-old when she took a bus trip to the March on Washington in 1963. That was 50 years ago today, and Ayanna remembers that experience vividly. 

"Once we got there to look around and see all these people, kids, adults, white, black, all the different races, it was an amazing day," said Najuma. "For me, that said there is hope."

It was August 19, 1958 when Ayanna participated in her first sit-in. She was 7-years-old. 

"Going to the sit-in the first day, we had some expectations of what would happen, but you know as a kid, you never knew how nasty people could be and how cruel people could be," said Najuma.

"Everybody prospers and gets ahead because of equal rights," said Bill Clifford.

Clifford and his wife have been part of the local civil rights movement for more than 50 years. He and his youth group would participate in sit in's with the late Oklahoma civil rights leader Clara Luper.

"And that's what sparked us, and that fire still burns even after 52 years," said Bill's wife.

The Cliffords and Ayanna have created a special bond over the past five decades. For them, today marks a milestone in American civil rights, but they agree the battle is not over.

"This is just a reminder, little tap on the shoulder, hey, it's not over yet," said Najuma.

President Obama praised civil rights activist like Ayanna Najuma and the Cliffords saying their work has permanently changed the discourse between races in America.

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