When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech 60 years ago, the moment became etched in the nation’s memory through his words and through photos of King waving to the crowd of at least 200,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington — images that have been reprinted in history books for decades.
While most people today say King’s speech was the highlight of the march, it was only one of many historic moments during the nation’s largest civil rights demonstration at the time. People gathered from around the country and the world to express support for equal employment opportunities along with the civil freedoms of Black people and other marginalized communities.
Several prominent Black figures attended, including activist John Lewis, who later became a member of Congress, and the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson — who performed “I’ve Been ‘Buked, and I’ve Been Scorned” right before King took to the lectern.
The display of unity was a rare act of solidarity in an era when race itself was tearing the nation apart. Here’s a look back on this historic day through archival photos, all echoing the need for change.