‘The March’ is the story of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, told by the people who organized and participated in it. It includes interviews with some of the key actors; members of the inner circles of the core organizational groups; Hollywood supporters and civil rights campaigners; John F. Kennedy administration officials; and the ordinary people who became part of the crowd of thousands, who thronged to Washington D.C. by all and every means: plane, bus and car.
The Obama family at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, Oct. 14, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
WH.gov: President Obama, President Clinton and President Carter to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
This Wednesday will mark 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the base of the Lincoln Memorial; a moment which served to punctuate a movement that changed America.
To honor this occasion, President Obama will be joined Wednesday, August 28th, by President Jimmy Carter and President Bill Clinton, members of the King family and other civil rights leaders and luminaries at the Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action event at the Lincoln Memorial, to commemorate Dr. King’s soaring speech and the 1963 March on Washington.
… This event is open to the public. Doors open at 9:00 AM, for an 11:00 AM program start on Wednesday, August 28th at the Lincoln Memorial. Guests arriving after 12:00 PM are not guaranteed admittance. In order to access the venue, you must enter from the east side of the Reflecting Pool, on 17th street, near the World War II Memorial.
Ebony: …… President Barack Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to “Let freedom ring” by ringing bells at 3:00 p.m. EDT, a half-century to the very minute after Dr. King delivered his historic address. Groups across the country will also pause to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech by ringing bells at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
“Some people pooh-poohed the idea. They didn’t think it was going to work. They thought there was going to be a lot of violence, and so our committee met every weekand we said, O.K., what do we need to move this really large group of people from all over, to bring them in? We needed public relations. We needed to have a medical corps of nurses and doctors on hand. We needed to have Porta-Pottys, arrange transportation. Once we had charter buses, regular buses coming in—what’s going to happen to those? Where are people going to park?”
As a kid, there was not much I could aspire to, because the achievement of black people in spaces of power and rule and governance was not that evident, and therefore we were diminished in the way we thought we could access power and be part of the American fabric. So we who came back from this war having expectations and finding that there were none to be harvested were put upon to make a decision. We could accept the status quo as it was beginning to reveal itself with these oppressive laws still in place. Or, as had begun to appear on the horizon, stimulated by something Mahatma Gandhi of India had done, we could start this quest for social change by confronting the state a little differently. Let’s do it nonviolently, let’s use passive thinking applied to aggressive ideas, and perhaps we could overthrow the oppression by making it morally unacceptable.”
The bus was on fire and was filling up with smoke. -Hank Thomas
“Separate, but equal” drinking fountains in North Carolina, photographed by Elliott Erwitt in 1950.
“When I first met Dr. King, I was 16, and he came to speak at our high school gathering. They have kids from all over the country come as representatives of their part of the country. So there were a couple hundred of us, and we would meet in groups and discuss politics, and we were discussingnonviolence because it was a Quaker-based group. And then Dr. King came and spoke, and I was just stunned, because this man was doing what we had talked about. They had just started the more publicly seen and known boycotts in Montgomery, and I just wept through the whole thing, because it made something real to me. It was real, but I hadn’t seen an example of it in my daily life, and there it was.”