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1963: The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

The Story


By bus, car, and on foot, a "quiet, dignified, peaceful crowd" has arrived in Washington, D.C. to listen to musicians, entertainers, and civil rights activists on a hot day in August 1963. Many are here to see Hollywood stars such as Burt Lancaster and Marlon Brando, but the most memorable speech that day is a sermon from Reverend Martin Luther King, who, in the shadow of the Lincoln monument, delivers his now-famous "I Have a Dream" speech. CBC Newsmagazine's Knowlton Nash reports. This clip was edited for copyright reasons.

Medium: Television
Program: Network Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Aug. 28, 1963
Reporters: Knowlton Nash, Kingsley Brown, Norman DePoe
Speakers: Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster, Patrick O'Boyle, A. Philip Randolph, Eugene Carson Blake
Duration: 27:54
Note: This clip was edited for copyright reasons.

Did You know?


• The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was planned in support of the call for the passing of civil rights legislation that had been promised by U.S. President John F. Kennedy.  On June 11, 1963, Kennedy addressed the nation after two black students were able to enroll at the University of Alabama under watch by the National Guard.  Kennedy vowed that he would initiate sweeping changes with Congress. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed on July 2, 1964 by his successor Lyndon B. Johnson, in the presence of Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists.

• After the march, Kennedy met with 10 members of the March on Washington planning committee, and released a statement that his administration would move forward with the enactment of the legislation. He praised the planners and participants for moving the cause forward in a peaceful manner "appropriately before the shrine of the Great Emancipator" (The Globe and Mail, Aug. 29, 1963)

• Musical performers included Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Lena Horne, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Mahalia Jackson. As well as Burt Lancaster and Marlon Brando, seen in this clip, Hollywood actors included Sammy Davis, Charlton Heston, and Ossie Davis.


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