Then & Now: Covering The March on Washington (The 50th Anniversary)

Then & Now: Covering The March on Washington (The 50th Anniversary) Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 10.40.33 AM.png
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream Speech," and hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in support of civil rights, voting rights, and economic justice. The anniversary is being remembered in many ways, including a large demonstration in Washington, and of course, a number of magazine and publication covers. We've gathered some of the best publication coverage of the March when it happened, as well as some recent covers, plus buttons, posters, LP covers, and other graphics from the event. Civil rights historian Taylor Branch has a wonderful essay, Remembering the March, that was excerpted in USA Weekend and is available in full on his website. It's a powerful look back at the March and King's speech, as well as analysis on what it means for the country today. -- Robert Newman and Josh Klenert


Above: National Urban League. "We Shall Overcome: March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," 1963. Portfolio cover by Louis Lo Monaco. (Library of Congress)

  • The New York Times. Aug 29, 1963
    The New York Times. Aug 29, 1963
  • The Washington Post. Aug 29, 1963
    The Washington Post. Aug 29, 1963
  • The Afro American, August 31, 1963
    The Afro American, August 31, 1963
  • JET, August 29, 1963
    JET, August 29, 1963
  • Newsweek, September 2, 1963
    Newsweek, September 2, 1963
  • LIFE, September 6, 1963
    LIFE, September 6, 1963
  • The Crisis -- The NAACP Magazine, October 1963
    The Crisis -- The NAACP Magazine, October 1963
  • EBONY, November 1963
    EBONY, November 1963
  • TIME, Jan. 3, 1964
    TIME, Jan. 3, 1964
  • LIFE, Spring 1988
    LIFE, Spring 1988
  • Huffington magazine, July 28, 2013
    Huffington magazine, July 28, 2013
  • Smithsonian, July/August 2013
    Smithsonian, July/August 2013
  • TIME, August 26/September 2, 2013
    TIME, August 26/September 2, 2013
  • Newsweek, August 2013
    Newsweek, August 2013
  • The Nation, August 2013
    The Nation, August 2013
  • The 1963 March on Washington U.S. postage stamp, issued August 23, 2013. Art director: Antonio Alcalá, illustration: Gregory Manchess
    The 1963 March on Washington U.S. postage stamp, issued August 23, 2013. Art director: Antonio Alcalá, illustration: Gregory Manchess


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Above: The Program for "We Shall Overcome: 
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom"



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Above: Vintage viny audio recordings of the speeches at The March, 
including Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech


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Above: A pennant and poster from '63. For more artifacts from The March on Washington, 



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If you're interested in reading more on King's speech at the March on Washington, The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Speech that Inspired a Nation is a brilliant book about King's speech in D.C., analyzing it line by line, and showing how it all came together. The best part is that he reprints the original speech as typed and distributed to the press, and then shows how King went off script. Most notably, the famous "I have a dream" phrase was not a part of the prepared speech. The book shows how King got carried away and added that line from a speech he had been using earlier in the year around the country. (side note: In another great book about the civil rights movement, Parting the Waters, by Taylor Branch, he describes the scene on the podium, with King speaking and Mahalia Jackson, standing behind him, urging him: "tell them about the dream Martin."). The Dream is a great read and an amazing look at the march.

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