WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — August 28, 2023, marks 60 years since the 1963 March on Washington.

Thousands gathered for the March on Washington to hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, a pivotal point in our nation’s history.

“It’s given me opportunities that my forefathers and foreparents didn’t have,” MSU Alumna Myrna Marks said.

“It helped get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin,” MSU Alumna Valerie “Penny” Rhodes said.

The march is something these two best friends Penny and Myrna say they were infatuated with as young children.

Both knew they wanted to be a voice for change, something they were able to do as MSU Texas students.

It was there a historical opportunity would come their way.

“My father said no he didn’t want me to go so I wasn’t going to go, but Penny came over and spoke to my father and all of a sudden I was going and I was so excited and off we went,” Marks said.

The two along with their classmates set off for Washington D.C. for the 20th anniversary of the March back in 1983,

“We were there for the march and the excitement, the plethora of people,” Marks said.

“They were all going to Washington to voice their opinions,” Rhodes said.

The two even meeting some other big names from the Civil Rights movement along the way.

“We saw Jesse Jackson coming out of a church, Shirley Chisholm was and of course she had already visited Wichita Falls through Midwestern,” Marks said.

The two left feeling inspired and 40 years later are still very active in the Wichita Falls community, even trying to restart our local NAACP chapter.

“Our local one is in a revitalization committee we’re trying to revitalize the NAACP, we know that the NAACP in Wichita Falls has a great heritage,” Rhodes said.

The Wichita Falls National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP, was first founded on the MSU campus in the 1970s after the desegregation of the university, not as strong as it once was, these two hope for a massive comeback

“We need people in every walk of life to come help us because we do fight for the disabled and we do fight against ageism, and racism and sexism, we do fight for women’s health,” Rhodes said.

If there’s one thing to take away from that famous march, it’s that we’re much stronger together, than we are apart.

For more information on how to join our local NAACP chapter, You can email naacpwf@gmail.com. The group meets every second Tuesday of the month at the Charlye O Farris Social Justice Resource Center located on MSU’s campus.