(Springfield, Va.) - Lucila Woodard was 29 years old when she made her first visit to Washington, D.C. On August 28, 1963, she attended the March on Washington in the nation's capital and her memories from the day include hearing Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous words.
Lucila Woodard was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and moved to the U.S. with her mother in 1962, just one year before the March on Washington. She began working for the headquarters of the Episcopal Church in New York City, where she met her husband, Jack, an Episcopalian priest.
Before moving to the U.S., Lucila remembers being confused about the civil rights issues in the country. She noted that in the Dominican Republic, you were not judged or denied opportunities based on your race; rather, one's class was more of a distinguishing factor.
According to Lucila, there was a bus chartered from the headquarters of the Episcopal Church to D.C. for the march. At the time she was working for a priest who was deeply involved in the civil rights movement, so she had the opportunity to take part in the historic event.
"When entering D.C. on New York Avenue, I saw apprehension on the faces of the African-Americans in the neighborhood," said Lucila. "Later, I learned that there was a growing concern not only in the local residents, but also from the government that the event would turn violent." But that wasn't the case, she said. "There was no violence; none at all."
Lucila recalls that she was able to attend the march with her brother and her uncle that day; a particularly special occasion considering her brother was visiting from the Dominican Republic.
Years later in 1977, Lucila and Jack moved from New York City to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where Jack served as a pastor. In 1979, they moved to Washington, D.C. where Jack took over the ministry at St. Stephen and the Incarnation until 1985. He retired in 1991 after having served as the rector of Meade Memorial Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Va. Lucila worked at The Washington Post as an administrative assistant in the newsroom from 1980 until 1987 and retired from the Post as a copy aide supervisor in 1996. The couple moved to Greenspring in Springfield, Va. in 2003; Jack passed away in March of this year.
"Every year on the anniversary, my husband and I would listen to the Martin Luther King, Jr. speech on tape," said Woodard. "It was just one way for us to commemorate the day."
About Greenspring: Greenspring is situated on a scenic 108-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The community is home to nearly 2000 residents, many of which reside in the 1404 independent living apartment homes. At Greenspring, over 200 resident-run and resident-driven programs promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average. Additional information about Greenspring can be found at www.ericksonliving.com.