LEWISTON — “Did your feet hurt after the march?” one sixth-grader asked the man who had participated in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Washington in 1963.

The Rev. James F. Reese, 91, talked with sixth-graders at Martel Elementary School by speakerphone after a Bates College-sponsored MLK Read-In at the school Wednesday. Reese’s son, James Reese, is associate dean of students at Bates.  

The elder Reese witnessed King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Students were excited to hear about his experiences with King and the civil rights era. Hands were continuously being raised to ask questions of father and son.

At the MLK Read-In, about 20 Bates College students volunteered to read books about the civil rights movement to fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students at Martel.

Hannah Mitchell, a 2014 Bates graduate who holds an AmeriCorps Vista position at the college, said the read-in gave the young students a chance to talk about the civil rights movement and “to see themselves in our shoes.”

James Reese the elder ended the conversation by paraphrasing King: He hoped “everybody would be judged by their character and not by the color of their skin.”

And in response to the question about his feet hurting, he was so excited to be at the march that he “didn’t get tired at all,” he said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: