We Are the Dream: Up Close and Personal

(Photo: Joyce Jones/BET)

We Are the Dream: Up Close and Personal

On Aug. 28, 1963, teen photographer Dwight Somers had his eye on the prize.

Published August 28, 2013

(Photo: Joyce Jones/BET)

Dwight Somers, a 65-year-old retired photographer from Northern Virginia, gazed wistfully at the Lincoln Memorial during the final commemoration of the March on Washington today.

Fifty years ago, he had a much better angle from the actual steps of the memorial, where he took photos of Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson "when he had a bush," Andrew Young and others.

Somers had won a contest at his school for which the prize was a press pass that got him a lot closer to the dignitaries than it would today.

"It was really great. I had a chance to mingle with and get close to people I'd read about and capture history," he told BET.com, longing to be closer to the center of the action as he was 50 years ago.

Somers also recalled life before and after Aug. 28, 1963.

"I remember in the '60s I couldn't go to the movies in Northern Virginia or if I wanted to get something to eat at a restaurant I had to go to the back to pick it up," he said. "After, I could sit down, thanks to the march."

He also could pursue a career that enabled him to fly with presidents. After running his own photography shop, Somers got himself one of those "good government jobs," one foundation that helped build the Black middle class.

As a staff photographer for the State Department and other agencies, he flew on Air Force One with Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton all over the world, including to see Nelson Mandela's inauguration.

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Written by Joyce Jones


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