Monday, January 18, 2010


[Photograph by Paul Schutzerby, May 17, 1957, Washington, D.C. From the Life photo archive.]

On 17 May 1957, nearly 25,000 demonstrators gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., for a Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, featuring three hours of spirituals, songs, and speeches that urged the federal government to fulfill the three-year-old Brown v. Board of Education decision. The last speech of the day was reserved for Martin Luther King’s “Give Us the Ballot” oration, which captured public attention and placed him in the national spotlight as a major leader of the civil rights movement.

Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom (King Institute)

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