The Free Press, Mankato, MN

August 27, 2013

1963 march inspired Latinos in civil rights fight

RUSSELL CONTRERAS
Associated Press

---- — ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Latinos were experiencing discrimination at the time of the 1963 March on Washington, but their numbers were small at the mass civil rights protest.

Historians say some large Latino groups had considered denouncing the march that attracted about 250,000 people.

Maria Varela, now 73, thought it would be largely symbolic and skipped it, even though she was working in the Deep South with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

However, historians say Latinos were inspired by the show of force by black marchers on the Lincoln Memorial.

The march didn't go completely unnoticed by all Latinos. The Texas State Historical Society says a companion march the same day in Austin, Texas, drew about 900 black, Latino and white people to protest the governor's opposition to civil rights legislation.