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Hey, media and history nerds! With this week's 50th anniversary of the 1963 March On Washington For Jobs and Freedom coming up Wednesday, we're happy to share the great radio guyJean Shepherd's first-person account of being in the march, broadcast just the day after the event.


It's pretty cool: rambling and digressive, but such a vivid account of being one guy in the middle of an experience that he knew was going to be world-changing. And it's a valuable reminder that the march involved so much more than just the "I Have a Dream" speech. It's also just an interesting artifact of how radio used to work -- a full two-minute opening song with no voice-over? No edits? No call-in segment? Weird.

Update: Hurrah! Finally figured out how to embed the audio!

Or if you prefer, you can open this Audio link.

Also fun: Shepherd chiding the regular press for reporting the event from the roped-off press box and missing out on the energy of the crowd in the streets.

And if you're not quite up for 45 minutes of classic radio, here's a 12-minute distillation that NPR put together for the fortieth anniversary of the march:

They also have a nice collection of other stories from the 40th anniversary.

Want more? How about these?

  • Democracy Now!'s retrospective on how perceptions of the march have changed over the years
  • An interview with Eleanor Holmes Norton on the PBS Newshour
  • Some more first-person remembrances
  • Congressman John Lewis remembers the march
  • A Smithsonian Magazine oral history of the march
  • A Time collection of photographs, with a brief essay by Julian Bond

  • UPDATE II: From commenter Lochnessmonster, WBEZ's broadcast of Studs Terkel's 1963 oral history "This Train" -- Terkel took the train from Chicago to Washington, and interviewed people headed for the march.

    Part 1:


    Part 2:


    Here's to the marchers of 1963, to the Dreamers of 2013, and to everyone who will have to sit on their hands in spluttering rage this week as they hear idiots proclaiming that Martin Luther King, Jr. really just wanted everyone to pay a flat tax rate.

    [Archive.org via Harry Shearer's twitter feed]

    Doktor Zoom

    Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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