Artifacts of the 1963 March on Washington
August 23, 2010
Beacon Press has been working with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. on "The King Legacy," new editions of previously published King titles and new compilations of Dr. King's writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers with scholarly introductions. In addition, we've just published Nobody Turn Me Around: A People's History of the 1963 March on Washington. So with the anniversary of the March this Saturday, August 28th, we've been thinking about what the March means to American History. This week, we'll publish a series of posts on the March on Beacon Broadside.
Sarah Overton at the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford sent us the following scans of King's program from the March, and they've kindly granted us permission to publish them here.
The image of the map of the March route contains a handwritten note from Clarence Jones, Scholar in Residence at at the King Institute and advisor, speech-writer, and friend to Dr. King. The note says:
Just learned that Dr. W. E. B. DuBois died last night in Ghana. Someone should make note of this fact.
MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR JOBS AND FREEDOM
AUGUST 28, 1963
LINCOLN MEMORIAL PROGRAM
1. The National Anthem Led by Marian Anderson (Note: Anderson did not get to the podium in time to perform, and Camilla Williams performed in her place. Anderson later sang "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," which you can watch here.)
2. Invocation The Very Rev. Patrick O'Boyle, Archibishop of Washington
3. Opening Remarks A. Philip Randolph, Director March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
4. Remarks Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, State Clerk, United Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A.; Vice Chariman, Commission on Race Relations of the National Council of Churches of Christ in America.
5. Tribute to Negro Women Fighters for Freedom Mrs. Medgar Evers
Diane Nash Bevel
Mrs. Medgar Evers
Mrs. Herbert Lee
6. Remarks John Lewis, National Chairman, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
7. Remarks Walter Reuther, President, United Automobile Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, AFL-CIO; Chairman, Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO.
8. Remarks James Farmer, National Director, Council of Racial Equality
9. Selection Eva Jessye Choir (Note: Watch here, although this clip shows them singing just before Roy Wilkins speaks.)
10. Prayer Rabbi Uri MIller, President Synagogue Council of America.
11. Remarks Whitney M. Young, Jr., Executive Director, National Urban League.
12. Remarks Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director, National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice.
13. Remarks Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
14. Selection Miss Mahalia Jackson (Note: Watch here.)
15. Remarks Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President American Jewish Congress.
16. Remarks The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (Note: Watch below or on YouTube.)
17. The Pledge A. Philip Randolph
18. Benediction, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, President, Morehouse College
"WE SHALL OVERCOME"
Statement by the heads of the ten organizations calling for discipline in connection with the Washington March of August 28, 1963."The Washington March of August 28th is more than just a demonstration.
"It was conceived as an outpouring of the deep feeling of millions of white and colored American citizens that the time has come for the Government of the United States of America, and particularly for the Congress of that government, to grant and guarantee complete equality in citizenship to the Negro minority of our population.
"As such, the Washington March is a living petition-in the flesh-of the scores of thousands of citizens of both races who will be present from all parts of our country.
"It will be orderly, but not subservient. It will be proud, but not arrogant. It will be nonwiolent, but not timid. It will be unified in purposes and behavior, not splintered into groups and individual competitors. It will be outspoken, but not raucous.
"It will have the dignity befitting a demonstration in behalf of the human rights of twenty millions of people, with the eye and the judgment of the world focused upon Washington, D.C., on August 28, l963.
"In a neighborhood dispute there may be stunts, rough words and even hot insults; but when a whole people speaks to its government, the dialogue and the action must be on a level reflecting the worth of that people and the responsibility of that government.
"We, the undersigned, who see the Washington March as wrapping up the dreams, hopes, ambitions, tears, and prayers of millions who have lived for this day, call upon the members, followers and well wishers of our several organizations to make the March a disciplined and purposeful demonstration.
"We call upon them all, black and white, to resist provocations to disorder and to violence.
"We ask them to remember that evil Persons are determined to smear this March and to discredit the cause of equality by deliberate efforts to stir disorder.
"We call for self-discipline, so that no one in our own ranks, however enthusiastic, shall be the spark for disorder.
"We call for resistance to the efforts of those who, while not enemies of the March as such, might seek to use it to advance causes not dedicated primarily to civil rights or to the welfare of our country.
"We ask each and every one in attendance in Washington or in spiritual attendance back home to place the Cause above all else.
"Do not permit a few irresponsible people to hang a new problem around our necks as we return home. Let's do what we came to do--place the national human rights problem squarely on the doorstep of the national Congress and of the Federal Government."
Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice.
Reverend Eugene Carson Blake, Vice-Chairman of the Commission on Race Relations of the National Council of Churches of Christ in America.
James Farmer, National Director of the Congress of Racial Equality.
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President American Jewish Congress.
A. Philip Randolph, President of the Negro American Labor Council.
Walter Reuther, President, United Automobile Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, AFL-CIO; Chairman, Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO.
Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Whitney M. Young, Jr., Executive Director, National Urban League.
In addition, the March has been endorsed by major religious, fraternal, labor and civil rights organizations. A full list, too long to include here, will be published.
WHAT WE DEMAND*
1. Comprehensive and effective civil rights legislation from the present Congress--without compromise or filibuster-- to guarantee all
access to all public accommodations
adequate and integrated education
the right to vote
2. Withholding of Federal funds from all programs in which discrimination exists.
3. Desegregation of all school districts in 1963.
4. Enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment--reducing Congressional representation of states where citizens are disenfranchised.
5. A new Executive Order banning discrimination in all housing supported by federal funds.
6. Authority for the Attorney General to institute injunctive suits when any constitutional right is violated.
7. A massive federal program to train and place all unemployed workers--Negro and white--on meaningful and dignified jobs at decent wages.
8. A national minimum wage act that will give all Americans a decent standard of living. (Government surveys show that anything less than $2.00 an hour fails to do this.)
9. A broadened Fair Labor Standards Acts to include all areas of employment which are presently excluded.
10. A federal Fair Employment Practices Act barring discrimination by federal, state, and municipal governments, and by employers, contractors, employment agencies, and trade unions.
*Support of the March does not necessarily indicate endorsement of every demand listed. Some organizations have not had an opportunity to take an official position on all of the demands advocated here.
Many thanks to the King Institute, MLKJP, GAMK, Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers (Series I-IV), Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., Atlanta, Ga. Be sure to visit their resources on the March on Washington on their website.