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State College Commemorates 1963 March On Washington

Dozens of State College community members gathered Tuesday to commemorate the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. 

Speeches, music and dancing filled the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza on Fraser Street where participants paid homage to the march's contribution to the civil rights movement.

State College Mayor Don Hahn said the march -- officially the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom -- marked a key turning point in history. 

"The marchers were the patriots," Hahn said. Because they forced America to take a good hard look at itself and to react to the reality that it saw and -- to its credit -- America changed for the better."

Fifty-five years ago, more than 200,000 demonstrators descended on Washington, D.C. to call for civil and economic rights for African Americans and an end to racism. It was there Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. 

Leslie Laing, a member of the Community Diversity Group, spoke about the meaning of the march. 

"It's a wonderful reason to gather today to take a moment to reflect on this historic event that helped transform a nation," Laing said. 

The event also included poetry and a performance from the Roots of Life dance troupe.

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