Photos capture faces of March on Washington

Story highlights

  • "This is the Day: The March on Washington" is a photo essay of the March on Washington
  • The book shows many of the people who participated in the march
  • Images from the march were important in remembering the message, the co-producer says
It was his most famous speech, and the most memorable moment of the March on Washington.
Leonard Freed is best known for his image of Martin Luther King Jr. after King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
All eyes were on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963, as he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech to a crowd of 250,000.
But one photographer, there to document the event, trained his camera away from the civil rights icon and toward the crowd.
The result was a visual document showcasing the diversity of marchers who gathered that day.
"This is the Day: The March on Washington," is a collection of 75 of Leonard Freed's photographs -- most published for the first time -- taken before, during and after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Freed's most recognizable image is likely a photo of King glad-handing supporters in Baltimore after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
But in "This is the Day," there is only one photograph of King, an atmospheric shot taken from afar.
Most of the images focus on anonymous marchers: black, white; union and nonunion; secular, religious; people from all over America, and from many different walks of life.
"Leonard Freed's moving photography offers still images of an America at once frozen in time and marching restlessly to its multicultural and multiracial future through the lens of a visionary artist," Michael Eric Dyson writes in the foreword to the book.
Freed was an American Jew, born in Brooklyn, who spent time in Europe. He was living in Berlin in 1961 when he took a photo of an unnamed African-American soldier standing guard by the Berlin Wall.
He was haunted by that image, according to Paul Farber, a contributing author to "This is the Day."
"(To Freed) that encounter was a contradiction of American culture: that a soldier could guard a country's freedom abroad, but would be denied those rights at home."
It compelled Freed to return to the United States to photograph the story of race in America.