On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 people gathered on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to March for Jobs and Freedom.
This month, more than 50 years later, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will commemorate the March on Washington with a digital resource webpage exploring the historical significance of the march with collection objects, stories, videos and content related to the historic march.
This page will include voices of union leader and activist A. Phillip Randolph, Rep. John Lewis, and many unsung activists and a performance by singer Marian Anderson. The resource webpage is available at nmaahc.si.edu/marchonwashington.
To mark the anniversary day (Aug. 28), the museum will also make available the film commissioned for its grand opening by Ava Duvernay, August 28: A Day in the Life of a People. The film will be available to view on the museum’s homepage and YouTube channel starting at 10:00 a.m. for 24 hours.
“This Friday marks the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, which in 1963, brought together more than a quarter-million people advocating for racial justice,” said Spencer Crew, acting director of National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“Demonstrations have long been a way for American citizens to help the nation live up to its stated ideals, making Friday’s anniversary and march not just a commemoration, but the continuation of an American tradition that began centuries ago.” Crew continued, “Evidence of not only how far we have come since 1963, but the long journey ahead to justice and equality.”
March on Washington Programming
NMAAHC Presents Why we march…(a short video)
Friday, Aug. 28
“Why we march…” is a three-minute video exploring the role of marching in social justice reform. The video uses photography from the museum’s collection to illustrate more than 50 years of community activism and protest movements for racial and social justice and equity in the United States to begin to answer the question, why we march. Click video below or visit @NMAAHC’s YouTube channel or the March on Washington webpage to see the video.
Cinema and Conversation—Black Journal: Black Women
Thursday, Aug. 27; 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This series will feature two rare films from the museum’s collection, The Black Woman and Alice Coltrane, from the seminal program Black Journal (1960–1970). Alice Coltrane is an intimate visit with musician Alice Coltrane at her home. The Black Woman focuses on—in the words of Black Journal host Tony Brown—one of the greatest institutions in the world: “The Black woman.” Curator of photography and film Rhea Combs will introduce the movie, followed by a discussion with scholar Philana Payton and journalist Joan Harris, who was interviewed in The Black Woman. Co-presented with Screen Slate, the films will be available for viewing at www.twitch.tv/screenslate.
NMAAHC “Takeover” National Geographic Instagram: March on Washington
Thursday, Aug. 27
In a digital collaboration with National Geographic, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will “takeover” National Geographic’s Instagram page (@NatGeo). Through their account, NMAAHC’s curator Damion Thomas will examine the 1963 March on Washington ahead of the upcoming National Action Network’s Commitment March.
August 28: A Day in the Life of a People, Available Publicly for 24 Hours
Friday, Aug. 28
For 24 hours, @NMAAHC’s YouTube channel will offer the grand-opening film produced by Ava DuVernay, August 28: A Day in the Life of a People. The 22-minute film features six significant events in African American history that occurred Aug. 28. Visit @NMAAHC’s YouTube channel Friday, Aug. 28, to see the film.