On Aug. 28, 1963, 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial, sounding the rallying cry of “jobs and freedom.” It was the largest non-violent demonstration for civil rights that the nation had ever witnessed.

Exactly 50 years later, the Library of Congress will present an exhibition, “A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington,” to mark what Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called “the greatest demonstration for freedom in the nation’s history.”

“It was the defining moment in the historical record of exegism in African-American history,” said Temple University professor Molefi Asante, who attended the march, in a February 2013 AFRO article. “It is the moment we took charge of defining our grievances to the American people while also defining our recommendations.”

“A Day Like No Other” will consist of 42 black-and-white images that represent the diverse crowd gathered at the march and convey the palpable energy, excitement and impact of the historic event.

“We went home with a new hope and a new belief not in America, but in ourselves,” said comedian and activist Dick Gregory of the day’s effect. “The impact, you couldn’t see, but you felt it for the rest of your life.”

The images were garnered from newspaper and other media photographers, independent photojournalists and people who participated in the march. Among the photographs on display will be works by: members of Magnum Photos, the world’s most prestigious photographic agency, including prints by Bruce Davidson, Danny Lyon and Leonard Freed; freelance photojournalists Bob Adelman and Flip Schulke, well-known for their coverage of the civil rights movement; David S. Johnson, a student of Ansel Adams, who is a visionary in black-and-white landscape photography; AP, UPI, New York World-Telegram and Sun, U.S. News & World Report and Look magazine photographers showing preparations for the event and the march leaders; Roosevelt Carter from Columbus, Ohio, a professional photographer who recorded his experience of the entire day.

In addition to the 42 images, the exhibition will feature a video presentation that includes 50 additional images taken by professional and amateur photographers that documented the historic march.

The exhibition, which premieres on Aug. 28, 2013 and runs through Feb. 28, 2014, will be free and open to the public, Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The exhibit comprises photos culled from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, which houses more than 15 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day. Garnered from around the world, these visual collections present a uniquely rich mosaic of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement in the fields of science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and history, among others.

For more information, visit: www.loc.gov/rr/print/.


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO