We March

Author & Illustrator: Shane W. Evans 

On August 28, 1963, a remarkable event took place–more than 250,000 people gathered in our nation’s capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march began at the Washington Monument and ended with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, advocating racial harmony. Many words have been written about that day, but few so delicate and powerful as those presented here by award-winning author and illustrator Shane W. Evans. When combined with his simple yet compelling illustrations, the thrill of the day is brought to life for even the youngest reader to experience.

We March is one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Children’s Books of 2012

Additional Source 

Find more books by Shane W. Evans here

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August 28, 1963

President John F. Kennedy meets with the speakers from the day’s March on Washington. Earlier that day, over 200,000 Americans gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand civil and economic rights for African Americans in a demonstration known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. had delivered his historic “I Have a Dream Speech,” a speech that President Kennedy, along with millions of other Americans, watched on TV. 

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

After the March concluded, President Kennedy met with 10 of the speakers from the event at the White House. Initially, Kennedy hadn’t supported the March as he was fearful that violence at the rally would hamper his own civil rights legislation or that the speakers would directly criticize it. In fact, the Kennedy White House had agents positioned near the stage to cut power to the microphones if the speeches became inflammatory or dangerous. In the end, Kennedy was greatly impressed by King’s inspiring speech and viewed the March as a success that improved the chances of his Civil Rights Act passing Congress. 


August 28th commemorates the 53rd anniversary of the March on Washington, D.C., for Jobs and Freedom. The March brought together roughly 250,000 Americans from all over the country and a variety of backgrounds in support of the passage of a civil rights bill to end racial segregation in schools, racial discrimination in hiring and housing, support the creation of jobs for the unemployed, and establish the minimum hourly wage at $2. While fear of the potential for violence led to the presence of a large police force and earlier attempts to dissuade organizers by politicians, the result was a peaceful demonstration with a powerful message of joy and hope for the future that culminated with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The March was televised and covered by media, and one of the members of the crowd documenting the events of the March was Robert S. Scurlock. The Scurlock family were professional African-American photographers based in Washington, D.C., and the family had a long history of photographing important moments in the black community; for example, Addison Scurlock, Robert’s father, photographed Marian Anderson’s 1933 performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after she was denied the right to perform at Constitution Hall. Robert’s documentation of the March on Washington is represented by color slides and photographs in the Scurlock Business Records at the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History.

On August 27th, 1983, a 20th anniversary march occurred to address the progress made, the current issues, and the work that still needed to be done to achieve the message of the first march. Once again, Robert Scurlock photographed the events and created slides of the 20th anniversary of the March on Washington, D.C.

As we remember the original March on Washington, D.C., and as the attendees of the 20th anniversary march did, we reflect on the progress made and just how far we still have to go to achieve the future described.

On August 28, 1963, over 200,000 gathered for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Here’s one young participant from the collection of US @usnatarchives,

Learn more and listen to the full live broadcast courtesy of WGBH via Digital Commonwealth:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., seen from behind, addressing crowd of 25,000 civil rights marchers, in front of Alabama State House, 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March, March 25, 1965, Photo by Stephen Somerstein  


“The civil rights movement is not over.” 50 years after Selma, we are still fighting for equality and justice. #Selma50 #Selma #BloodySunday

Watch on

Peter, Paul & Mary singing the Pete Seeger/Lee Hays song “If I Had a Hammer” at the Civil Rights March on Washington - August 28, 1963.  



Selma to Montgomery marches (7th march - 25th march 1965)

The Selma to montgomery civil rights marches were 3 marches starting on the 7th of march and ended on the 25th of march 1965. The marches were publicised as a 54 mile march from selma to the alabama state capital of montgomery. The march helped alert people to the civil rights movement and contributed to the voting rights act of 1965. 

Southern State legilslatures had passed a series of discrimanatory laws that had made many african americans unhappy with their state governments because they were prevented from registering to vote or voting itself  The Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) organised an campaign to get black citizens in dallas to vote but it was met by opposition from white officals in the area. The DCVL invited martin luther king and other prominent civil rights leaders to meet in selma. Local protests began consequently over 3000 people had been arrested by the end of febuary 1965. 

President at the time Lyndon B Johnson had been a fervent supporter of the civil rights movement and had spoken with King over the telephone to stop this injustice from and wanted to get a voting rights act passed through congress. He needed kings help to do this. MLK used selma as a base of operations to get black people registered to vote. 

On febuary 26th 1965 deacon Jimmie lee jackson died after being shot by state troopers following a peaceful protest march. In Order to cool the rising anger a protest march was organised from selma to montgomery by James bevel, a civil rights leader and director of  Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

On march 7th the march began as 600 protesters headed east out of selma up highway 80. They made their way into Dallas county where they were met by state troopers. The county sherriff had ordered all white males over the age of 21 to be deputized. The demostrators were told to go home. Minutes later protesters were beaten and had tear gas thrown at them. 17 people were hospitalized and the event became known as “bloody sunday” 

The Second march took place on march 9th and was personally led by King. Shocked by the images of bloody sunday african americans rushed to join the protest. State troopers stepped aside as the demonstrators crossed edmund pettus bridge. This would be known as “Turnaround tuesday”. That very night four KKK members attacked Minister James reeb who had marched that night. Reeb died in hospital two days later. 

The murder of james reeb led to national outrage. Including acts of civil disobedience targeting alabama state government. Activists demanded protection during rallies but Alabama governor george wallace refused. In response Lyndon B Johnson sent 2000 soldiers of the Us army, 1900 alabama national guard under federal command, FBI agents and federal marshals. The third march started on march 21st and ended on march 25th as they reached Alabama state capitol.