The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one of the largest human rights rallies in American history, took place 50 years ago today in Washington, D.C.. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke that day, delivering his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Joan Baez sang “We Shall Overcome,” the anthem of the civil rights movement, while Bob Dylan performed “When the Ship Comes In” and Odetta sang “I’m On My Way.”
In 1964, the director James Blue released a documentary called The March. Produced under the auspices of the United States Information Agency, the film proved to be a “visually stunning, moving, and arresting documentary of the hope, determination, and camaraderie embodied by the demonstration.” And while the film initially sparked some controversy (read the account here), it has had a big impact on audiences inside and outside the US throughout the decades.
In 2008, The March was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the The March for Jobs and Freedom, the US National Archives has completed a full digital restoration of the film. You can watch it free above, or find it in the Documentary section of our collection of 550 Free Movies Online.