Let Freedom Ring: State Councils celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

August 27, 2013
View of the crowd from the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington
Photo caption

View of the huge crowd from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, during the March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Warren K. Leffler, photographer

U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-U9- 10360-11

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke those now iconic words, "I have a dream." On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, state humanities councils across the country celebrate Dr. King's vision for the Civil Rights movement with a variety of events.

District of Columbia

The Humanities Council of Washington, DC in partnership with the Andrew Young Foundation and CRP Inc. presented Raising the Conscience of a Nation, a special commemorative program reflecting 1963, the year that changed America. This program examined why the nation responded to the March on Washington and featured a screening of 1963: The Tipping Point.


The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dream. Join the Illinois Humanities Council for a conversation with author and award-winning journalist Gary Younge on his new book, The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream.


Join the Kansas Humanities Council for a virtual bell-ringing and online viewing of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech at 3 p.m. EST (2 p.m. CST) on August 28th. To join in, tweet the following to @kshumanities:

Ring! In honor of the 50th anniversary of the #ihaveadream speech #MLKDREAM50 @kshumanities


The Maryland Humanities Council offers a year of reflection on civil rights milestones through their Speakers Bureau.

Starting September 5th, the Clarice Smith Center at the University of Maryland will host a two-day symposium, Civil War to Civil Rights: The Well-Being of a Nation, to observe the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The keynote address will be given by Julian Bond on "Why the March on Washington Still Resonates Today." The symposium is supported in part by the Maryland Humanities Council.

New Hampshire

Let Freedom Ring. Fifteen events are scheduled across the state to celebrate Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Participating towns include: Amherst, Concord, Dover, Goffstown, Isles of Shoals, Keene, Madbury, Mount Washington, Nashua, North Conway, Pelham, Peterborough, Portsmouth, and Sanbornton. For a complete list and more information, please visit the New Hampshire Humanities Council website.


The Oregon Historical Society will host programs on Wednesday, August 28th to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom sponsored by the Oregon Humanities Council. Activities include a screening of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech" and a Teach-In on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 


BackStory presents a special espisode on the 1963 March on Washington, Fierce Urgency of Now: The 1963 March on Washington. In this special episode of BackStory, the American History Guys place the march, and Dr. King’s speech, in a broader, and deeper historical perspective. Listen here.