Historic City News reporters recall that on this day in 1963, more than 2,000 buses, 21 special trains, 10 chartered airliners, and uncounted cars converged on Washington, D.C. to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a large political rally in support of civil and economic rights for African Americans that began at the Washington Monument and ended at the Lincoln Memorial with a program of music and speakers on Wednesday, August 28, 1963.
According to news reports of the day, all regularly scheduled planes, trains, and buses were filled to capacity. Estimates of the number of participants varied from 200,000 reported by police, to over 300,000 reported by leaders of the march. Observers estimated that 75–80% of the marchers were black — the rest were white or other minorities.
The march failed to start on time because its leaders were meeting with members of Congress.
To the leaders’ surprise, the assembled group began the march without them.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News archive photograph, Library of Congress