Glimpses into the 1963 March on Washington

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The Amistad Research Center offers multiple ways to access original documents that chronicle the August 28th march and provide a glimpse into the day’s events. Materials from various archival collections can be viewed as part of the Center’s current exhibition, Through the Lens: Photographing African American Life, or as part of the new digital collection, Print Culture of the Civil Rights Movement, 1950-1980.

Organizing manual for the March on Washington.

Organizing manual for
the March on Washington.

Organized by leaders of various civil rights organizations, including CORE, NAACP, SNCC, SCLC, and the National Urban League, the March on Wasington 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. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech.

The Robert G. Sherer Collection contains photographs, texts of speeches, and other materials that document the march. Included in the Sherer collection are copies 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. Photographs from the collection are currently on display in the Center’s Reading Room through September 27th.

Amistad’s new digital collection includes not only the organizing manual pictured above, but issues of the SCLC newsletter that contain news about the march. Feel free to stop by or browse online to learn more about 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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