50 years after march, 86-year-old mobilizes Petersburg community

Posted at 7:10 PM, Aug 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-23 20:36:19-04

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) -- When you talk to Bessie Moorer, it’s like taking a page from the history books. She took part in the March on Washington 50 years ago.

"We came together all of us. We met each other, different people. And we listened thoroughly to what had been said,” said Moorer.

The Petersburg native remembers standing among the sea of marchers fighting for racial equality.

"It just gave me a good feeling that I got to go back home and I got to do something to help make it better,” said Moorer.

Moorer credits her mentor, Reverend Dr. Wyatt T. Walker, who organized the famous march alongside Dr. Martin Luther King. She said that’s what inspired her to get involved.

"He is the one who integrated the library in Petersburg while he was here," said Moorer.

Now, 50 years later, the 86-year-old is mobilizing her own community. She has organized a bus ride and is renewing Dr. King's commitment of non-violence and justice for all.

"I don't care what color you are. Come on in and let's work together," said Moorer. "People don't have any interest. The parents have not taught the children well. They haven't done any research."

Moorer blames parents for not caring or educating their kids. She said she talked to several adults who had no clue about what she was talking about. And she said a lot of those folks still don't vote.

As a result, Moorer is turning her attention to the youth in hopes that they will make a difference in the future.

"The road is rough and the going is getting tough and the hills are hard to climb. We must stop so much lip service and take some action,” said Moorer.

As for race relations, Moorer said there has been little progress. But she believes Saturday’s March on Washington will be a wake up call that could have a lasting impact.