PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Jarvis Crawford, the president of the Palm Springs Black History Committee and a
member of the Coachella Valley Marti Luther King Jr. Commemoration Committee, believes he would have never held his current job as manager of the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center, if it hadn't been for the quarter of million people who marched on the National Mall a half-century ago, demanding jobs and freedom.
    
"Because of the civil rights movement and the March on Washington and the speech that was given, I am able to work as a manager now for the city of Palm Springs." said Crawford.

Although Crawford wasn't alive when King made his iconic "I  Have a Dream" speech, as a 17-year-old, Crawford was compelled to visit the nation's Capitol to mark the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington.  It's an experience that changed his life.
     
"Reliving the march 30 years later, I  was able to see things in a different light," said Crawford.  "Even as a teenager, I wanted to be someone who could help others, so community service was my calling."

Palm Springs City Councilwoman Ginny Foat has first-hand knowledge of the historic march.  She was there as a 20-year-old.  In fact, the Palm Springs Library has some of her memorabilia from the historic day on display.  Foat says August 28, 1963 is a day she realized not everyone had the rights she and her family enjoyed.

"I grew up in an Italian Catholic family and there was never any talk about discrimination or anything like that.  We hardly knew any people of different color," said Foat.

All the more reason Foat is now proud she was among the masses in the nation's Capitol 50 years ago who demanded equality.

"It wasn't until standing there crying like a baby as the march was ending, singing  "We Shall Overcome" that I really realized the impact of what had been done," said Foat.