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‘I Have a Dream’: Music From That Memorable Day

On the speech's 53rd anniversary, clips from powerhouse performances

On Aug. 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, which became a turning point in making illegal the racial discrimination policies in the South.

King practiced and preached nonviolent protest. Those who marched with him often sang as they walked — an act that brought forth both courage and solidarity. In the 1963 March on Washington, music played a critical role for the 250,000 gathered.

We started to sing and I had an epiphany...

— Mary Travers

A few years ago, The New Yorker ran a piece about the broad and passionate compilation of musicians who performed there. They included Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez, Odetta, Bob Dylan and Marian Anderson, to name a few.

Here are video clips of some of the performances, singing songs that took on urgency and grew in significance as government — pushed by the people —responded to King’s call.

Peter, Paul and Mary — ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’


Bob Dylan and Joan Baez — ‘When the Ship Comes In’


Mahalia Jackson — “How I Got Over”

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