A young state representative from Brookline named Michael Dukakis was one of 20 Massachusetts leaders who signed a statement in support of the march, which read in part: “This historic demonstration represents a turning point in our nation’s development — the point at which we finally begin to honor our Constitution and moral heritage.” Dukakis would later go on to become governor and the Democratic nominee for president in 1988.

“How could one care deeply about the future of this country and not be appalled at the way we were continuing to treat people of color?” Dukakis, now a professor at Northeastern University, said Tuesday.

As a senior at Swarthmore College, Dukakis spent a semester at American University in Washington, D.C., in 1954.