In late August 1963, the March on Washington led hundreds of thousands of Americans to the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech.

Lawrence Cumberbatch (right), then 16 years old, walked from New York City to Washington, D.C., with Brooklyn’s chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

At StoryCorps, Lawrence, 66, tells his son Simeon, 39, about the difficulty of convincing his parents to let him go, and what it was like to be present on the podium behind Dr. King as he spoke.

Originally aired August 23, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Above: Members of CORE en route to the March on Washington, April 15, 1963. Lawrence Cumberbatch can be seen fourth from left in back wearing a white hat. Photo courtesy of Orlando Fernandez/World Telegram & Sun/Library of Congress.