They had flown east all day, leaving the morning light of the Bay Area for the nighttime darkness of the nation’s capital. With barely a pause, they piled into two buses, went to dinner, and then, as the hour neared 10 p.m., they went as a group to the Lincoln Memorial, where they sat on the steps, huddled together.

Then they listened to a recording of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s conscience-rousing sermon to the 1963 March on Washington, in which he told an assembled multitude of 250,000 that he had a dream of true equality and justice for a nation riven by hatred and racism.

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