This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963.
Documentary photojournalist Leonard Freed was one of the 200,000 - 250,000 people in the crowd that day. He died of prostate cancer in 2006, but a new book of his photos from that day, This Is The Day: The March On Washington, was released in February.
Brigitte Freed, Leonard’s wife, recalls: "It was a self-assigned story. Nobody asked him to do this story."
Although most Americans were hearing King’s words for the first time, he had actually delivered some of the same phrases in a Detroit speech a couple of months before.
"That having been said, it doesn’t mean that his charisma wasn’t extraordinary," says Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, who wrote the essay in the book. "King … stood at the sunlit summit of expectation and articulated a dream as golden and as powerful … now as it was then — and Leonard Freed captures those people who King felt were worth fighting for."
Freed’s wife recalls: "Leonard didn’t stop taking pictures until the last protesters had headed home. I think what we see is the remarkable recording of the silent dignity of the masses of black people and their allies." (+)