All this excitement tends to obscure rather than to emphasize the objective of the march:
To focus public attention on the need for more jobs and more freedom for Negroes.
But this purpose was vastly extended after June 19. That was when President Kennedy called on Congress to enact a massive legistlative program to more fully guarantee civil rights.
Some local Negro leaders are concerned that their people will be vastly outnumbered by whites. They are trying to line up more Negroes to join the parade.
As a generality, the Negroes here have fewer privileges than whites and are more likely to be tied to their regular daily routines. The whites who want to look on or actually march will find it easier to play hooky from work.
In this era of instant communication, public demonstrations as a part of the Negro revolt already have been seen and understood by the nation. Their virtue, in showing the scope and depth of Negro sentiment, has been realized.
Their disadvantages, in emotional reaction, come when the majority of the nation starts to think that they are overdone, belabored, less than wholly sincere. "The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" comes at a time when demonstrations already have passed the point of diminishing returns.
A retired Wright-Patterson Air Force Base worker, Mrs. Robinson is packing a small bad with low heeled shoes, fruit and sandwiches and a pair of slacks in case most of the marchers dress informally. A heart condition is preventing her husband from coming along.
"I'm 67 myself and if they march too far and too long I might have to fall out," Mrs. Robinson said. "But I'm going to give it a try. At first I was a little worried there might be some trouble, but I don't think so now. I only hope it will do some good. I believe it will."
The story will be found in the hearts and minds of the marchers, the thousands who will be swarming in for these brief, hectic hours in the sultry hear of a Washington August.
That is what I hope to learn about. That is what I hope to glimpse and pass on. Not the spectacle, but the mystique of the marcher.
Dayton's Congressman Paul F. Schenck does not intend to accept an invitation to go down to hear the speeches climaxing the civil rights march tomorrow.
Like most Ohio congressmen, he is taking a friendly but aloof attitude. He plans to be in his office on the Hill, ready to greet representatives of the marchers.
Excitement is rising. Buttons, banners and caps were being issued to various delegations. Mrs. Williamson said the NAACP buses were filled to capacity yesterday and some would-be marchers had to be turned down.
Hardwick predicted that the CORE train ride will be "quiet, businesslike and dignified."
He said the marshals and group captains have been appointed to keep order and brief the marchers on procedures for tomorrow.
An 82-year-old man from Dayton, Jay Mardo, riding to the civil rights march on Washington on a silver bicycle with an American flag on the handlebar, was stopped in Philadelphia last night.
Mardo was picked up for riding the Walt Whitman bridge, on which bicycles are prohibited.
Men may have called the march, Mrs. Hedgeman said, but women are a major force behind it.
"Women usually lead any crusade. They don't always get front-line notice, but they're there and their force is felt."
"Certainly women ought to be very vigorous in support of minorities. I honestly think women are the most discriminated against of all the minorities. Yes, even more than Negroes, if that's possible."
Then she added: "I get it on both counts - woman AND Negro."
For a worm's eye view of the mobilization for this historic march as it looked to a private in the rear ranks, come with me to the Dayton CORE headquarters at 1405 West Fifth Street at 1:45 yesterday afternoon.
Some 75 people are there, dressed for a travel ordeal - slacks, sportsshirts, blouses. Another two dozen will join the Dayton contingent in Cincinnati.
As the trip begins to unwind, and people relax, the rear car becomes the "swinging" car, with more than 100 people jammed into its rear half, singing. Some are professional singers. The effect is stirring.
It was a combination of camp meeting, circus, Fourth of July preparations, union strike, store picnic and military maneuver as the sun rose at the Washington Monument this morning.
Speakers' stands were decorated in red, white and blue bunting. Television, radio and electrical technicians were working frantically with their wiring and other apparatus.
A mountain of placards stood alongside the headquarters tent awaiting willing arms to carry them.
The 109 marchers who left Yellow Springs in two buses last night were stranded at dawn today but arrived in time for the demonstration.
At Hagerstown, Md., they could not find relief bus drivers and had to wait for two hours while they nervously watched their watches.
"Our group is full of enthusiasm, though," said Larry Rubin, a fourth-year Antioch student in charge of the group.
Physically whipped and mentally tired, the 75 persons riding the NAACP bus nevertheless were in a sprightly mood when they disembarked at around 8 a.m. today.
Some 100 CORE marchers arrived by train at Cincinnati at about the same time.
"You don't mind tiredness when you're involved in something so important," said Dr. Newell Wert, dean of the United Theological Seminary.
Said Rep. William M. McCulloch (R-Piqua): "I hope this does not set a precedent for legislation by demonstrations."
Said Rep. Paul F. Schenck (R-Dayton): "Most members of congress resist pressure tactics. There's resentment if there's a feeling that there will be reprisals, unless we vote a certain way."
You heard no griping - though most marchers had slept a maximum of an hour the night before, had been lucky to finds a cup of machine-made coffee and a stale doughnut for breakfast and whose prospects for lunch were roughly equivalent to those of a barracuda adrift in the Mojave desert.