Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

This Sunday marks the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and was to be the official dedication day for the new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. Although the dedication day has been postponed, the Amistad Research Center would like to mark the anniversary and has added the finding aid to the Robert G. Sherer Collection to its online finding aid database.

Organizing manual for the March on Washington.

Organizing manual for the March on Washington.

The collection contains photographs, texts of speeches, and other materials that document the march, which took place on August 28, 1963. Organized by leaders of various civil rights organizations, including CORE, NAACP, SNCC, SCLC, and the National Urban League, the day featured speeches by John Lewis, Whitney M. Young Jr., Eugene Carson Blake, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, Mathew Ahmann, and others. It was at this march where Dr. King delivered his I Have a Dream speech.

Included in the Sherer collection are texts for many of the speeches delivered that day, including the advance text of Dr. King’s speech, which lacks the improvised “I Have a Dream” section. Also present is the unedited version of the speech delivered by John Lewis of SNCC, which caused controversy among civil rights leaders due to its harsh tone against the Kennedy administration and the fact that the speech was edited prior to Lewis’ delivery.

Although the Sherer collection is small (3 folders), it provides a wonderful glimpse into one of the most significant demonstrations of the Civil Rights Movement.

Posted by Christopher Harter

(Image from the Robert G. Sherer Collection. May not be reproduced without permission.)


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