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The March on Washington
Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Historic Civil Rights Protest

moreNPR's Juan Williams reports on the voices heard the day of the march.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., at the March on Washington.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., at the March on Washington, Aug. 28, 1963.
Credit: National Archives


Marchers carry signs demanding an end to police brutality.

Marchers at the 1963 event carry signs demanding an end to police brutality.
Credit: National Park Service


Coretta Scott King speaks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Aug. 23, 2003, at a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Coretta Scott King speaks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Aug. 23, 2003, at a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Credit: Reuters Limited © 2003


audio iconHear an NPR report on the ceremony.

Aug. 22-29, 2003 -- This week marks the 40th anniversary of the civil rights March on Washington, which featured the Rev. Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech before an unexpectedly large crowd of at least 250,000 people.

NPR remembers the event with a series of reports, including a look behind the scenes at the struggles over staging the historic event and interviews with participants who traveled to the nation's capital from around the country. Follow NPR coverage:

Friday, Aug. 22
More Behind the March on Washington
The Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington is remembered for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legendary 'I Have a Dream Speech' and the unexpectedly large crowd that was on hand to listen. But the outward appearance of unity masked divisions over the march by top civil rights groups. As the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the historic event, NPR's Juan Williams reports on Morning Edition about the story behind the march.

Sunday, Aug. 24
More The Unfinished Business of the March
Phillip Martin reports on the reflections of people in Massachusetts who attended the civil rights March on Washington four decades ago. They talk about their participation in the event, and about what has and hasn't changed in the African-American community since then.

Monday, Aug. 25
More Going to the March
They came by bus, train and, in at least one case, roller-skates. The people who traveled to the March on Washington from around the country made the journey despite threats of violence by members of the American Nazi Party and other racists. On Morning Edition, NPR's Juan Williams reports on the stories of some of the march's participants and organizers.

More The Tavis Smiley Show Commemorates the March
The Tavis Smiley Show kicks off a week-long series looking at the March On Washington through the memories of some of the people who participated in the event. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's delegate to Congress, shares her recollections. Also, listen to the first of producer Phillip Martin's WBGH archive reports on the event, and hear a commentators' roundtable on the impact, legacy and unfinished business of the march.

More Talk of the Nation: Organizing the March
To commemorate the March on Washington, Talk of the Nation holds a series of conversations with people who helped plan the 1963 event. Today, Louise Buie, who organized a train ride of civil rights marchers from south Florida to Washington, D.C., tells her story.

Tuesday, Aug. 26
More 'People Get Ready': Inspired by the March
Part of the March on Washington's legacy is its music. Singer and songwriter Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" was written in the year after the march. For many, it captured the spirit of the march -- the song reaches across racial and religious lines to offer a message of redemption and forgiveness. NPR's Juan Williams reports on Morning Edition.

More Tavis Smiley Show Retrospective Continues
The Tavis Smiley Show continues its special retrospective on the march. Host Tavis Smiley talks with the Rev. William Sloane Coffin about his role in the 1963 march. Peter Jennings, anchor and senior editor of ABC's World News Tonight, discusses his upcoming special on the summer of 1963. Also hear the latest segment in Phillip Martin's WBGH archive reports and a commentators' roundtable on the march.

More Broadening Participation in the March
Talk of the Nation continues a series of conversations with people involved in organizing the 1963 event. Today, Nicholas Katzenbach, former assistant U.S. attorney general under Robert Kennedy, explains why organizers wanted to make sure whites were included in the march.

Wednesday, Aug. 27
More Tavis Smiley Show Retrospective Continues
The Tavis Smiley Show continues its special week-long retrospective on the march. Tavis Smiley talks with civil rights activist Dorothy Height, who stood on the platform only a few feet from Martin Luther King Jr. when he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Janus Adams, who was a little girl at the march, offers a commentary. And Phillip Martin's WBGH archive reports on the march continue as does a commentators' roundtable.

More An Earlier 'Dream' Speech
Talk of the Nation continues a series of conversations about the march. Today's guest is Arthur Johnson, former president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP. He was present when the Rev. Martin Luther King delivered an earlier version of his "I Have a Dream" speech during the 1963 Walk to Freedom in Detroit two months before the March on Washington.

Thursday, Aug. 28
More Voices of the March
The March on Washington, with the sheer size of its crowd and the powerful words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was considered the historical tipping point in the struggle for civil rights. On Morning Edition, NPR's Juan Williams reports on the day's speeches and legacy.

More Tavis Smiley Show Retrospective Continues
The Tavis Smiley Show continues its special retrospective on the march. Tavis Smiley talks with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who was one of the planners and speakers at the March on Washington, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The show also looks at the role gospel legend Mahalia Jackson played in the march. And hear more of Phillip Martin's WBGH archive reports on the event and a commentators' roundtable.

More What Makes a Great Speech?
On the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo talks about what makes a great speech. Hear the interview on Day to Day.

More Remembering the March
The March on Washington was the biggest political demonstration ever staged in the United States, and a day that would quickly become part of the national narrative. On Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan retraces the course of the historic event, and talks with participants about their experiences.

More Reflections of a Storyteller
All Things Considered presents legendary New York radio broadcaster and storyteller Jean Shepherd's recollections of the march, from his program a day after the event. Like thousands of others who attended the march, Shepherd rode to Washington on a bus. He reported on the ride and what he saw from the edges of the crowd when he got there.

Friday, Aug. 29
More Tavis Smiley Show Retrospective Concludes
The Tavis Smiley Show wraps up its special retrospective on the march. Tavis Smiley talks with the Rev. Joseph Lowery, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Commentator Erin Aubrey Caplan says the March on Washington has been unmatched since, and comedian Dick Gregory shares humorous stories about the event. And hear the last of Phillip Martin's WBGH archive reports on the march.


In Depth

MoreNPR coverage of Martin Luther King's speeches and sermons

MoreNPR coverage of other civil rights anniversaries

MoreWeb resources on the March on Washington




   
   
   
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