The Dream of a March on Washington

August 30th, 2010

Even though Glen Beck and Sarah Palin tried to soil it, this past weekend marked the forty-seventh anniversary of the March on Washington. The original event marked the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, as a quarter of a million people, black and white, gathered in Washington for what Martin Luther King called "the greatest demonstration of freedom in our nation's history." But the march was, even then, not without its detractors and took place in the context of an expanding Civil Rights movement and an escalating war in Vietnam. At the time many actually believed that such a march could change the course of race relations in America, and in many ways it did. Author and lecturer Charles Euchner, in his new book Nobody Turn Me Around: A People's History of the 1963 March on Washington, has given us a compelling history of that march and given us some contemporary context from which to judge it. My conversation with Charles Euchner: