LOS ANGELES, Aug. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — On August 28, 1963, more than 250,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Washington, DC to draw attention to inequalities faced by Black Americans. As the nation reeled from violent acts perpetrated on civil rights activists in Birmingham, Ala., civil rights leaders A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr. chose to fuse their marches — Randolph’s and Rustin’s for jobs, King’s for freedom — into a massive, singular protest. Thus, The March On Washington For Jobs And Freedom, one of the most momentous civil rights gatherings in American history, was launched, culminating in Dr. King’s classic speech which he unforgettably (and extemporaneously) delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial: “I Have A Dream.” Available for the first time as a stand-alone single on global streaming platforms, listen to “I Have A Dream” HERE. Listen to the full album, The Great March On Washington, HERE.
Motown Records recorded the key speeches and then, adding singer Liz Lands’ studio performance of “We Shall Overcome,” swiftly released a full album that fall. The company’s striking, close mic’d sound was a more accurate capture of the event than any news report of the day. As TIME proclaimed, “Martin Luther King Jr. and Motown saved the sound of the civil rights movement.” UMe’s work to preserve and archive the audio from that historic day assures that generations of people from every walk of life around the world have been inspired to work for freedom and justice forcefully and peacefully.
In honor of the anniversary of The Great March On Washington, and its enduring legacy as one of the world’s greatest examples of peaceful mass protest to champion fundamental freedoms for those who routinely experience cruelty and injustice at the hands of wrongful institutions and individuals, Motown and UMe have developed new digital initiatives. These efforts make newly accessible the sounds of a day that is vital to ensuring that America fulfills its promise and that the uplifting messages delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial nearly 60 years ago can inspire those taking to the streets today for the purpose of nonviolent action as they become part of the proud legacy of the original march.
One of the core components of this year’s campaign will be recreating the energy of that great day through carefully sequenced playlists and digital activations, including interactive timelines, shareable social cards and ongoing support for the work that the late Congressman John Lewis, then a student activist and the youngest speaker at the march, spent a lifetime pursuing.
Earlier this year and coinciding with the first-ever digital release of The Great March On Washington album on Motown, TIME and executive producer Viola Davis invited the public to step back into history with THE MARCH – a groundbreaking, immersive Virtual Reality museum exhibit that recreated The March On Washington and allowed visitors to witness firsthand the “I Have A Dream” speech, utilizing original audio from Motown. TIME said, “King’s clarion voice carries without the distracting echo picked up by inferior attempts to capture it. Spectators on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial chime in audibly as King proceeds…making listeners feel as if they’re 10 ft. from the podium.”
Now, Motown and UMe are proud to celebrate of the 57th anniversary of The Great March On Washington, with the following:
“The tradition for preservation and distribution continues as Motown and UMe create ways for digital generations to enhance their journey,” commented Katina Bynum, EVP, East Coast Labels, Urban, UMe.
Bynum continued, “The Ed Sullivan Show clip of Coretta Scott King provides an early glimpse of the power of a woman’s voice. The #USEYOURVOICE hashtag encourages inclusion and action. The March On Washington playlist links the past and the present, just as today’s demonstrators carry on the work of yesteryear’s civil rights leaders and activists.”
Today, Dr. King’s plea for racial tolerance and unity — as well as similarly captivating speeches by a number of other civil-rights luminaries — ring ever truer in light of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and other Black Americans. These orations have continued to inspire generations ever since, underscored by the planned March On Washington 2020 that will be held on the 57th anniversary of the original march.
To experience this year’s Motown/UMe tribute to The Great March On Washington, please visit: