By Kitty Kelley
On August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans descended on Washington, D.C. to participate in what would become a watershed moment of the Civil Rights Movement. Legendary photographer Stanley Tretick was there with his camera to capture the crowds, the singers, and the speakers who would come to define the movement.
It was a Wednesday, but people still wore their Sunday best.
Men in dark pants, white shirts, and ties fanned themselves with straw snap-brims.
The racial diversity of the marchers—black and white—was a testament to the commitment for civil rights legislation.
President John F. Kennedy greets the crowd from his motorcade.
Photographer Stanley Tretick, shown in the top right with camera in hand, watching Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-Illinois) raise his hand. From left: Rabbi Joachim Prinz, Whitney Young, Martin Luther King, Jr., Walter Reuther, Dirksen, John Lewis, and Mathew Ahmann.
The crowd trying to escape the heat of the afternoon.
The Big Ten: Back row, left to right: Mathew Ahmann, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, John Lewis, Eugene Carson Blake, Floyd McKissick, Walter Reuther. Front row, left to right: Whitney Young, Cleveland Robinson (administrative chairman of the March but not officially a member of the Big Ten, A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Roy Wilkins.
Plans had called for the Big Ten to lead the March, but the marchers—thousands and thousands of them—surged ahead on their own.
Marchers hold up signs as they watch.
Photos may only be reproduced with the permission of the Estate of Stanley Tretick LLC.
Excerpted from Let Freedom Ring: Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the March on Washington by Kitty Kelley.
Copyright 2013 by Kitty Kelley
Reprinted with permission from Thomas Dunne Books.
KITTY KELLEY is an internationally acclaimed writer, whose bestselling biographies focus on some of the most influential and powerful personalities of the last fifty years. Kelley’s last five books have all been number one on The New York Times bestseller list, including her latest, Oprah: A Biography. Kelley lives in Washington, D.C.