They came to Washington, D.C., with determination in their hearts and freedom on their minds. Those with means came by automobile, train, and airplane. Many arrived on buses sponsored by local organizations and churches in their cities and towns. Still others started out on foot hoping to catch rides along the way. They were from all walks of life, all races, and all denominations. They were old and young, able-bodied and impaired, poor and wealthy, average citizens and the very famous all sharing the same mission and goal—to be a part of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. This exhibition transports visitors to that momentous day, August 28, 1963—a day that transformed our nation—when 250,000 people participated in the largest non-violent demonstration for civil rights that Americans had ever witnessed.

Many remember the March on Washington for the ringing words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, iconic speech, “I Have a Dream.” The black and white photographs in this exhibition, drawn from the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress, portray the entire day of the march from multiple viewpoints as experienced by independent photographers and photojournalists.

The work of independent photographers reveals memorable faces and singular moments, including images selected for publication long after the event to represent the purpose, spirit, and impact of the march. Press photographs provide a chronological overview of the story from the initial organizing efforts in New York City in July until the demonstrators disbursed after the speeches at the Lincoln Memorial. Many of the prints on display illustrated contemporary accounts in newspapers and magazines.

Images by members of the White House News Photographers Association, color slides for publication in Look magazine, and pictures from a professional Ohio photographer recalling his own experience enhance the story of the March on Washington—a day that changed the course of history.