Now that the movie Selma is out, and so relevant to recent protests, I wanted to share this short film on the March on Washington. This 5-minute short was created for students to see and teachers to use in middle school classrooms, and features many historic photographs from the Smithsonian's collections. It also features Harry Rubenstein, chair and curator of the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., telling lesser-known anecdotes about the organization of the march on Washington, like the fact that the march was called for in July and happened in August. This march involving hundreds of thousands of Americans from every state across the nation and was organized in just under a month!
The March on Washington short was created by the Pearson Foundation in conjunction with the Smithsonian and was largely conceived and directed by Terry Medalen with the help of the Smithonian's amazing director and advocate for education Stephanie Norby. (I am honored to say I got to work on some small part of the negotiations and early development for the films in this series.)
Selma is a moving and powerful Hollywood epic about the lesser known march that proved extraordinarily difficult and heartbreaking, personally for Dr. King's as he struggles with himself, his faith, and leading the movement—all creating a more nuanced look at the personal sacrifices made by so many in this movement. This is a must see film because it comes at such an important time in American history and helps all of us to see that the fight for social justice and equality is far from over but the rally is desperately needed again today, as we face the heartbreak and inhumanity of overzealous police and their systemic killing and brutalizing of the nation's (mostly) male African American citizens.