Some 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed America's slaves, many Americans embraced the ideal of racial equality but were frustrated with the glacial pace of change. Organizers were making plans to bring people from across the country to the nation's capital to express their exasperation in a peaceful, nonviolent manner.
On Aug. 28, 1963, more than 250,000 people rallied at the Lincoln Memorial. The gathering stretched down the National Mall, past the reflecting pool toward the Capitol. The music and speeches they heard extolled the urgent need for social justice.
Fifty years later, the March on Washington is mostly remembered for the Rev. Martin Luther King's eloquent speech — his dream of an America where people "will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."