Viewing the historic year of 1963 through a Manual lens

Much is being made about the 50th anniversary this month of the famous civil rights march on Washington D.C., and the era defining “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Locally, much is being made about Manual High School’s class of 1963 gathering in Denver this weekend for its 50th reunion.

Manual High's class of 1963 is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Denver this weekend.

Manual High’s class of 1963 is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Denver this weekend.

And yes, there are connection between those two signal events, the coming of age Manual students in a time of epic national turmoil and change.

“As a teenager, the March on Washington and the speech were wonderful,” Michigan Hill, a Manual 50th reunion committee member, told radio station KUVO’s morning jazz and public affairs show.

But he said many of the racial tensions that were tearing at the country were not present in Manual’s East Denver neighborhood of 1963. “There was a real sense of neighborhood pride, and it didn’t matter if you were brown, white, black or yellow, we were one community, the Manual community,” Hill said.

He told KUVO host Steve Chavis  that he and his friends used to frequent the already desegregated Woolworth’s lunch counter at 16th and Champa. He said he was in the military stationed in the Deep South before he ran into segregated public facilities.

Hill said the 50th reunion class will visit the school Friday to visit with current Manual students “and share a little Thunderbolt pride”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *