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March on Washington - 50th Anniversary (1963-2013): Oral Histories

The 1963 March on Washington attracted an estimated 250,000 people for a peaceful demonstration to promote Civil Rights and economic equality for African Americans. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech highlighted the event.

Oral Histories

An Oral History On The March on Washington


Several people were interviewed for this project, including Joyce Ladner, Rep. John Lewis, Harry Belafonte,  Andrew Young, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Julian Bond, Courtland Cox, Juanita Abernathy, Ken Howard, Barry Rosenberg, and Rachelle Howowitz.  Includes photos and videos.

D.C. Congresswoman on Organizing the March on Washington


Decades before delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton would represent her district as a congresswoman on Capitol Hill, she worked as one of the original organizers for the March on Washington. Fifty years later, Holmes Norton reflects with Gwen Ifill on her efforts, part of a series of discussions on the legacy of August 28, 1963.

Dr. King: Meet the Press - Roy Wilkins, Washington March


On "Meet The Press," Roy Wilkins and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. discuss the March on Washington. More than 100,000 people were expected to march in support of civil rights legislation, jobs, freedom and equality.

John Lewis


Rep. John Lewis is interviewed by PBS correspondent Kim Lawton.  Lewis notes that, "sometimes when I look back and think about it, how did we do what we did? How did we succeed? We didn’t have a Web site. We didn’t have a cellular telephone. But I felt when we were sitting in at those lunch counter stools, or going on the Freedom Ride, or marching from Selma to Montgomery, there was a power and a force. God Almighty was there with us."

The March on Washington Remembered by Joyce Ladner


"What I remember most is standing on the podium looking out at the 250, 000 people. It was a sight to behold. One had to see it to believe it. Despite the conflict over John's speech, I felt emboldened because of the large number of people who came. I didn't feel so isolated anymore. I was also very happy that our hard work that summer had led to such a great success."

When Heston, Poitier, Brando, Baldwin, and Belafonte Sat Down to Talk Civil Rights


This roundtable, in which a group of Hollywood actors talk about the meaning of civil rights, was filmed in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963: the day of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The participants, all of whom attended the march included: Harry Belafonte, Charlton Heston, Sidney Poitier, moderator David Schoenburn, director and writer  Joseph Manckiewicz, Marlon Brando, and James Baldwin.