On Open Vault you can listen to full coverage from the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which took place on August 28, 1963 and ended with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Visit the March on Washington collection page to learn more.
This collection, funded with a grant from the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures program, includes coverage of approximately 18 hours of the day’s events, with expert commentary and interviews sprinkled throughout. Not only will you find King’s “Dream” speech, but you can also listen to all of the other speakers from the day: Dick Gregory, John Lewis, Bayard Rustin, Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, to name a few. It also includes the musical performances by Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, Odetta and Peter, Paul and Mary.
The details of this historic day are sometimes forgotten in the shadow of King’s great speech… but the March On Washington Collection documents the full event, bringing to light the important details and nuances that made up the March experience:
- Did you know the American Jewish Congress was represented at the march by its president, Rabbi Prinz?
- Did you know that DC/MD/VA area prisoners were allowed to watch the events of the day on television?
- Hear testimony from marchers from as far south as Clarksdale, Mississippi and as far north as Acton, Massachusetts
- Did you know that Marchers were asked to sign the following Pledge Card and mail it to their representatives?
Standing before the Lincoln Memorial on the 28th of August in the Centennial Year of Emancipation, I affirm my complete personal commitment to the struggle for jobs and freedom for all Americans. To fulfill that commitment, I pledge that I will not relax until victory is won.
I pledge that I will join and support all actions undertaken in good faith and in accord with the time honored Democratic tradition of non-violent protest, of peaceful assembly and petition and to address through the courts and the legislative process. I pledge to carry the message of the march to my friends and neighbors back home, and to arouse them to an equal commitment and an equal effort.
I will march and I will write letters. I will demonstrate and I will vote. I will work to make sure that my voice and those of my brothers ring clear and determined from every corner of our land.
I pledge my heart and my mind and my body unequivocally and without regard to personal sacrifice to the achievement of social peace through social justice.
Listening to the day’s events let’s you imagine you were there. How might it have felt to be there? Which speaker and singers would you have remembered? Who would you have met on the mall next to you? How might the March have inspired your own activism or attitude?