March on Washington Exhibits

The marches and rallies commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington may be over, but there are many exhibits around D.C. for you to learn more about this transcendent moment in American history, and to remind us that as a society we must actively ensure economic equality, civil rights and human rights for all.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, was one of the largest political rallies for civil rights and economic justice in U.S. history. More than 250,000 people from across the nation participated in the march, which featured Martin Luther King, Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivering his historic and iconic “I Have a Dream” speech advocating racial harmony. The March on Washington helped pressure Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965). Learn more at these special exhibits – most are free! – and visit the memorials that pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King (also free!).

2013 Anniversary
“I Have a Dream” Speech, 1963

Museum Exhibits

“A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.” Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. This exhibit consists of 40 black-and-white images from newspaper and other media photographers, independent photojournalists and people who participated in the march — represent the cross-section of individuals who were there. Part of the collections in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, the images convey the immediacy of being at the march and the palpable excitement of those who were there. The exhibition will allow visitors to rediscover the context and ongoing legacy of this important event in the country’s history. The exhibit will be on display through March 1, 2014. Free.

“Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement.” Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW. This exhibit explores the new generation of student leaders in the early 1960s who fought segregation by making their voices heard and exercising their First Amendment rights. It will spotlight key figures in the student civil rights movement, including John Lewis, now a U.S. representative from Georgia, and Julian Bond, who later became chairman of the NAACP. The exhibit is on permanent display. The Newseum will also launch a three-year changing exhibit, “Civil Rights at 50” which will be updated each year to chronicle milestones in the civil rights movement from 1963, 1964 and 1965 through historic front pages, magazines and news images. “Civil Rights at 50” will be on display through 2015. Admissions for colleges students with ID: $17.95.

“One Life: Martin Luther King Jr.” National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW. This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech through a display of historic photographs, prints, paintings and memorabilia. It traces the trajectory of King’s career from his rise to prominence as the leader of the national civil rights movement to his work as an anti-war activist and advocate for those living in poverty. The exhibit runs through June 1, 2014. Free.

“Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and The March on Washington, 1963.” National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.This exhibit at the Smithsonian examines these two pivotal events and their larger relevance for all Americans today. The exhib features historic and modern photographs and items ranging from Harriet Tubman’s shawl to a portable version of the Emancipation Proclamation — one created for Union soldiers to read to and distribute among African Americans. The exhibition will be on view through September 15, 2013. Free.

“American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s.”  National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave NW. This exhibit explores the issues that were at the forefront of Ringgold’s experience of racial inequality in the United States during the 1960s. Ringgold created bold, provocative paintings in direct response to the civil rights and feminist movements. The exhibition includes 45 works from the landmark series “American People” (1963–67) and “Black Light” (1967–71), along with related murals and political posters. The exhibition will be on view through November 10, 2013. Admission for college students with ID: $8.00. (Free for all on the first Sunday of the month).


Martin Luther King Memorial, West Basin Drive SW and Independence Avenue SW. The memorial honors Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision for all to enjoy a life of freedom, opportunity and justice. National Park Service rangers give regularly scheduled talks on the life and contributions of Dr. King. Free.

Lincoln Memorial, 23rd St. NW, National Mall. The iconic landmark and memorial to President Abraham Lincoln was the site of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and continues to serve as a prime destination for civil rights related events. The memorial is open 24 hours a day and is an ideal place to reflect upon American values. A “Let Freedom Ring” Commemoration & Call to action will be held on August 28, 2013, 1-5:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial. Free.