E-Newsletter Sign Up

Time Capsule: The Robinsons and the March on Washington 1963

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963. It was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in US history. Organized by a coalition of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations, the historic march attracted a diverse group of over 250,000 people. The event began with a rally at the Washington Monument featuring several celebrities and musicians. Participants then marched the mile-long National Mall to the Memorial. The three-hour long program at the Lincoln Memorial included speeches from prominent civil rights and religious leaders but it was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, who delivered the speech which was one of the most defining moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Civil rights advocates in their own right, Jackie and Rachel Robinson marched with their three children. Both described that day as one of their proudest and most memorable moments.

Read Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s full speech here

Excerpt from Jackie Robinson: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad

"To Jack, who attended the march with Rachel, Jackie Jr., Sharon and David, the day was an unparalleled triumph. Instead of the fights and rioting that some predicted, the mood was one of self-confidence and shared humanity. "I have never been so proud to be a Negro," he wrote. "I have never been so proud to be American." The site of thousands of blacks and whites marching together for a common cause stirred him: "One had to be deeply moved as[one] stood, watching Negroes and whites, marching hand in hand, singing songs of freedom." He was proud, too, of his family. Jack watched Rachel's eyes moisten as, spellbound, she listened to Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" oration.

Rachel Robinson Interviewed in TIME Magazine's Special Issue: "One Dream"

"The spirit in the whole setting was so exciting, so positive, so hopeful that something was going to happen. We felt very enthusiastic about everything. We were happy to wait and find a seat, and delighted when we found a seat up front, so we could see the procedure and we could hear the speeches. And it turned out to be an extraordinary experience for all of us: for the children and for Jack and I, because we had never worked on anything of that magnitude or seen that kind of support for equal opportunities, which is what we had been hoping for many years ... We were looking for leadership and [Martin Luther King, Jr.] he was offering it!"

TIME Magazine's Special March on Washington issue "One Dream"

JRF Scholars and Alumni March on Washington 2013

JRF Scholars

L-R: : JRF Scholar Allegra Mosley, JRFAA Coordinator Lauren Underwood, JRF Mid-Atlantic Region Chair Kendra Gaither, JRF Alums Anne Bloomfield, Rayshon Payton, Stephanie Marshall-Horry and Ray Nelson

More pictures from the March on Washington 2013

  • Share