“I think history was written today which will have its effect on coming generations with respect to our democracy, with respect to our ideals, with respect to the great struggle of man toward freedom and human dignity.” A. Philip Randolph
One hot August day in 1963, 200,000 American citizens traveled to Washington DC to exercise their Constitutional right to demonstrate.
The full title of the event, now known as the March on Washington, was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke. Mahalia Jackson, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Marian Anderson sang. The demonstration was covered live on television.
Of the estimated five hundred cameras covering the event, twelve were under the direction of a young filmmaker from Oregon. James Blue directed and edited The March, wrote the voiceover narration, and performed it. A production of the United States Information Agency, The March was translated into 52 languages and seen all over the world.
It was not at that time, however, seen in this country.
These USIA films were rarely seen in America because, fearing propaganda, the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act mandated that no USIA film could be shown domestically without a special act of Congress. These films are being rediscovered because a 1990 act of Congress (P.L. 101-246) authorized domestic screening 12 years after release.
I hereby claim The March as an Oregon film based on the contribution of the director, Oregonian James Blue.