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Reader recommendation: This Is the Day

Monitor readers share their favorite book picks.

By James Patterson, San Francisco / August 27, 2013

As our nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where he delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech to a crowd of 250,000, I am reading This is the Day: The March on Washington. It is a 110-page photo-essay on the 1963 March. Photojournalist Leonard Freed (1929-2006) captured the enormity of the crowd in 57 black-and-white photographs. Hopeful marchers, young and old, celebrated that day for rights long denied them. Some of the male marchers wore suits and ties. Females wore expensive dresses and hats. Other marchers wore denim overalls and straw hats. Some carried signs from Mississippi. In one dual page photograph, whites and blacks joined hands as they sang for a better future. “Labor unions, church groups, and civil rights organizations across the country mobilized their members and supporters for the march, ” writes scholar and activist Julian Bond in the book's Foreword. The book includes an essay, “August March,” by Michael Eric Dyson who writes, “It was undoubtedly one of the greatest gatherings of American citizens since the republic’s birth.” The dramatic photographs bear witness to that statement and share with us the faces of the struggle.

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