Fifty years ago, 200,000 marchers took to the Nation's Capital for one of the biggest human rights rallies in U.S. history.
The March on Washington was organized by a group of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations. But despite its legacy today, it was not universally supported among civil rights activists at the time. Some worried it might turn violent (as did many white Washingtonians), and Malcolm X condemned it as the "farce on Washington."
The March, a 1963 film recently restored by the National Archives, documented the entire event from the long bus rides into D.C. to Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speech, to a litter-strewn National Mall after the event, as excited attendees filed out and back to their home cities:
The film, despite the optimism conveyed throughout it, acknowledged that no matter how historic the event could end up becoming, it was far from a final victory over racism and discrimination:
There were many who praised this day and said that there had been a new awakening of the conscious of the nation. Others called it a national disgrace. In the wake of this day, more violence was to come. More hatred. But in the long history of man's cruelty to man, this was a day of hope.
Half a century later, thousands took to the National Mall once again today and this past weekend, with National Action Network, a New York-based civil rights organization hosting its "National Action to Realize the Dream." Another event, called "Let Freedom Ring" is being hosted today, organized by a collection of civil rights organizations including the NAACP and the National Urban League. Below, a look at images from the March 50 years ago, and this past weekend's:
Students of Howard University march from campus to the Lincoln Memorial, August 24, 2013. (REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan)