MUSIC AND POLITICS (Updated April 12, 2013)

April 12, 2013 – 4:34 am

Just shy of 50 years ago, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

March On Washington For Jobs & Freedom 1963

Recorded August 28, 1963 at National Mall and Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC. Radio broadcast quality. First time in stereo.

This was shared at Hunger City April 2 by djhamma. The text below are his.

“This collection includes the available musical recordings from this day, some of which are presented for the first (and almost certainly only) time in Stereo! Where different audio feeds were available for all or parts of a performance, they have been synchronized to create a stereo image.

“A bit of history for the younger crowd:

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was organized by a coalition of ten civil rights and labor groups, and proved to be the largest mass demonstration in DC until that time (and for decades after). First plans for the march were announced on June 11, 1963 - just hours before the Jackson, Mississippi assassination of NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers.

Ten days later, civil rights leaders of the coalition were called to the White House, where President Kennedy attempted to encourage them to call off the event. He was not successful and, on Wednesday, August 28, 1963, between 200,000 and 300,000 of the expected 100,000 participants converged on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

In addition to live TV coverage by all three American broadcast networks, the event was captured by at least two government sponsored documentary filmmakers, who produced short films about the march for overseas distribution.

The “Educational Radio Network” also carried 15 hours of live audio coverage from the event, broadcast throughout the Eastern and Midwest US and Canada, and preserved for posterity by Boston ERN Affiliate WGBH FM (click here for 15 hours of streamable live radio coverage from that day, including the entire MLK speech). (Ironically, the March proved to be ERN’s final live broadcast. An earlier decision by the sponsoring Ford Foundation to limit their educational network funding to television relegated the radio broadcasters to a tape exchange system until the 1970 creation of National Public Radio.)

The WGBH tapes were used to create the only official release from this event, the single LP “We Shall Overcome: Documentary of the March on Washington”, released on both Broadside and Folkway Records. These recordings, however, were heavily edited to present an audio montage of the day’s events rather than a collection of complete performances. Worse still, the fidelity of this release was rather poor. (The lossy WGBH archive recordings sound markedly superior.)

The route of The March itself was only about 1.2 miles, from the Washington Monument at 15th Street NW to the Lincoln Memorial, with half the marchers traveling up Constitution Avenue and half traveling up Independence Avenue.

And yes, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech here, but the day also included many notable musical performances on two stages:

From 10:00-11:30 am, Folk Musicians (including Joan Baez, Peter Paul & Mary, Odetta, Josh White, Lonnie Satin, Bob Dylan, The Freedom Singers “and assorted other people”) provided warm-up entertainment from a stage near 15th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW on the Washington Monument grounds.

At 11:30 am, the crowd began moving to the west, where the musical performances and informal speeches continued from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Starting around 1:00 pm, singers including The Freedom Singers, Odetta, Camilla Williams, Peter Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Len Chandler and others readied the audience for the official portion of the program at 2:00 pm.

Opera singer Camilla Williams opened the proceedings with the National Anthem, filling in for famed singer Marian Anderson, who was unable to reach the Lincoln Memorial in time. Ms. Anderson sang a half-hour later, after yet another last-minute program change. (Quite significantly, this was not Ms. Anderson’s first performance at this venue. On April 9, 1939, after being refused use of DC’s Constitution Hall, she performed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for an audience of more than 75,000 - including a 10-year-old boy by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr.)

The Eva Jessye Choir and Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson rounded out the musical program, though Ms. Jackson offered another, perhaps even more historically significant contribution a short time later, when at the conclusion of Dr. King’s fairly innocuous prepared remarks, she encouraged him to “Tell them about the dream.”

+ + + + +

Celebrity watches take note of Track 10 with an interview with actor Marlon Brando. A young Bob Dylan performs solo and with Joan Baez. It was an important day. It was a historic day. When people mattered more than corporations. Songs like We Shall Overcome, If I Had A Hammer all about the individual’s rights against the power of authority. We Shall Not Be Moved ends the concert and the day with resolve. This was also the day when Martin Luther King, Jr made his moving speech “I Have A Dream”.

That dream is 50 years old. Today, the mainstream media is pushing the Globalisation dream. Globalisation has basically made people “pawns in their game”. The convergence of corporations and financial institutions into gi-normous sized entities have resulted in “too big to fail”. Globalisation creates super corporations. Corporate leaders are paid super salaries beyond the ordinary workers’ imagination. Globalisation hints of its own political system. Bigger and bigger corporations extending their sphere of influence suggests that a new political system will emerge, possibly without nationalism but the concept of a global political system under one management.

Welcome to the machine. How did we go from individual civil rights to a global world concept that demands convergence in politics, economics, culture and religion? Discuss.

Thanks to ShaReeF at HungerCity for allowing the show to be shared. And to all involved in assembling this historic concert especially djhamma who seeded the show. Those who want the accompanying DVD go here (click here).

NOTE: 50 years ago it was generally accepted that copyright would lapse at the end of 50 years and a music recording would enter the public domain. With the rise of entertainment corporations, America has revised copyright to extend beyond 50 years to protect the interest of these corporations. Countries that want favored trade agreements with the U.S. must sign up to extend copyright as well.

- The Little Chicken

Picture by Dean Lucas, posted at - Thanks!

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

+ + + + +

Updated April 12, 2013

Uploader djhamma has just shared three upgraded tracks:

“I was kindly provided with audio from a much lower generation copy the Dylan video, free of most of the glitches in the source I’d previously used. Free from much of the hiss, dropouts, speed-altering video glitches and general muddiness of the bootleg DVD version, it allowed me to create “remastered” versions of “When The Ship Comes In”, “Only a Pawn In Their Game” and “Rally Song/Eyes on the Prize”, with cleaner sound, fewer unwanted artifacts, and (for the last two at least) an improved stereo image.”

07 - Bob Dylan, Joan Baez - When The Ship Comes In (f)
13 - Bob Dylan - Only A Pawn In Their Game (Stereo) (a+f)
14 - Len Chandler, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Scott Scharf - Rally Song/Keep Your Eyes On The Prize (Hold On) (Stereo) (a+f)

Those who had taken the tracks earlier can download them again as upgrades.

+ + + + +

Washington Monument Stage 10:00-11:30am
Track 01. Joan Baez - Interview by Al Hulsen (a) (2.0MB)
Track 02. Joan Baez - We Shall Overcome (Stereo) (a,b+c) (4.5MB)
Track 03. Peter, Paul and Mary - Blowing In The Wind (a,b) (4.5MB)
Track 04. Peter, Paul and Mary - If I Had A Hammer (Part) (b) (1.1MB)
Track 05. Odetta - Come And Go With Me To That Land/I’m On My Way (Stereo) (a+c) (8.3MB)
Track 06. Odetta - No More Auction Block/Child Of God (a) (7.0MB)
Track 07. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez - When The Ship Comes In (e) (5.5MB) - Upgrade
Track 08. Peter, Paul and Mary - Interview by David Edwards (a) (4.9MB)

Lincoln Memorial 1:00-2:00pm
Track 09. The Freedom Singers - We Shall Not Be Moved (b) (2.7MB)
Track 10. Peter, Paul and Mary Intro/David Edwards Interview with Marlon Brando (a) (5.5MB)
Track 11. Peter, Paul and Mary - If I Had A Hammer (Stereo) (a+d) (3.6MB)
Track 12. Joan Baez - All My Trials (Stereo) (a+b) (5.8MB)
Track 13. Bob Dylan - Only A Pawn In Their Game (Stereo) (a+e) (6.8MB) - Upgrade
Track 14. Len Chandler, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Stuart Scharf - Rally Song/Keep Your Eyes On The Prize (Hold On) (Stereo) (a+e) (4.7MB) - Upgrade

Lincoln Memorial Stage (Official Program 2:00-4:3 pm)
Track 15. Camilla Williams - National Anthem (a) (2.8MB)
Track 16. Marian Anderson - He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands (Stereo) (a+c) (4.9MB)
Track 17. Eva Jessye Choir - Freedom Is A Thing Worth Thinking About (Stereo) (a+b) (5.1MB)
Track 18. Mahalia Jackson - I’ve Been Buked And I’ve Been Scorned (a) (12.6MB)
Track 19. Mahalia Jackson - How I Got Over (a) (4.0MB)

Lincoln Memorial Stage (Post-March 4:30-5:30pm)
Track 20. Eva Jessye Choir: We Shall Overcome (b) (2.5MB)
Track 21. Stage and Screen Committee For The March On Washington - We Shall Not Be Moved (a) (717k)

a - WGBH FM Simulcast (Internet Archive)
b - U.S. Information Agency Documentary, “The March In Washington” (1963) (
c - U.S. Information Agency Documentary, “The March” (1964) (Dir: James Blue)
d - Live TV Coverage (Internet Sources)
e - DVD “Bob Dylan: TV Live & Rare ‘63-’75″

1. Whenever possible, tracks feature full or partial “Stereo” soundtracks created by synchronizing original video/film sound with WGBH Archive recordings preserving ERN’s live coverage of the March.
2. During an interview with Peter, Paul & Mary (CD Track 8), The Freedom Singers can be heard performing “This Little Light Of Mine” from the Washington Monument Stage.
3. The 2004 Peter, Paul and Mary documentary “Carry It On: A Musical Legacy” includes footage (not included here due to copyright) of the trio’s Lincoln Memorial performance of “Blowing In The Wind,” intercut with interviews and overdubbed with a studio soundtrack. The original rendition can be heard (albeit just barely) in the background during an offstage radio interview with Marlon Brando (CD Track 10).
4. Though CD Track 14 is generally referred to as “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize”, the bulk of the lyrics are actually from Len Chandler’s “Rally Song”, published in Broadside Magazine #32 (20 September 1963).

Three years in the making, this historical box set, Let Freedom Sing! Music of the Civil Rights Movement (3CD), traces a 70-year journey with songs that reflect the feelings of those at the heart of the movement as well as those just trying to make sense of a troubled period in American history. Buy it here.

+ + + + +
+ + + + +

Click here for more shows that are still open for sharing.

Click here for closed shows.
(Readers can email us a request to reopen closed shows.)

  1. 15 Responses to “MUSIC AND POLITICS (Updated April 12, 2013)”

  2. awesome , thanks.. and here is the youtube video link “when the ship comes in”

    By sluggo on Apr 12, 2013

  3. This is hallowed ground. Please do not soil this one space with petty arguments. Negro Spirituals and Folk songs. Pleading for respect, the right to be heard, and grievances to be presented. This was not just a black struggle, it was ALL our struggle. If you choose to mock God on this one post, then you mock where these people were coming from, including Rev. Martin Luther King. This was true history in the making, and the forming of our nation. And in the spirit of liberty, it was earned with blood. I sincerely appreciate this presentation, Big O, may all copy and send forth into children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildrens’ hands.

    By 5yrsnojob on Apr 12, 2013

  4. Until the people transcend politics, our government will remain harshly divided.

    By 5yrsnojob on Apr 12, 2013

  5. thank you

    By alexan wolf on Apr 12, 2013

  6. I`ve seen alot of the footage of this historic march and was certainly aware that music played a huge part in it but having these historics recordings presented this way never crossed my mind.And I must say that it isn`t very often history is presented in such a way that you can really hear the emotion and at the same time reflect on just how important and powerful the value of human beings gathering for such an important cause can trully be.Thank you BigO.

    By Couz on Apr 12, 2013

  7. to those who made it possible to share these important, magnificent, transcendant tracks, bless you.

    By Tony on Apr 13, 2013

  8. Much love and respect to all those affected by those old discriminatory laws and customs, and to those who struggled and fought to eradicate those laws and customs, to those who suffered loss of liberty, injury, or death in the cause. We salute you with much love and respect, and thank you for everything you did.

    By Respect on Apr 14, 2013

  9. I like my history mixed with music. Back when people believed in something other than money. Thank You.

    By john mitchell on Apr 18, 2013

  10. Thank you.

    There’s a reason that Martin Luther King, Jr. ended his speech by quoting the “old Negro spritual: free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I am free at last,” and recited the lines “my country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty” in the speech. Not only was he acknowledging the power of music to elevate and intensify words, he was following a tradition of revising and reinterpreting patriotic songs. “America” (a.k.a. “My Country Tis of Thee”)was reinterpreted by abolitionists, trade unionists, women, and the temperance movement. Music is both a force for change, and a resource for social movements.

    I’m grateful to Big O for making these historic performances available. Somehow, neither the record labels or government managed to share them.


    By Eric on Apr 20, 2013

  11. Somehow, neither the record labels or government managed to share them.

    that`s not entirely true.
    I owned a copy of this album .
    Bob sings the ballad of Medgar Evers on it.


    By sluggo on Apr 20, 2013

  12. Ursula, if you made it to this point, all 21 tracks are available for download, shown by each track number highlighted in blue (Track 01). Right click each one and drop it into a folder you created on your pc to keep them. Sorry, I forgot to ask how savvy you are with these things. (My comments are already on here from 2013).

    By ScarRad on Jun 8, 2017

  13. Until the people transcend politics, our government will remain harshly divided.

    This is still true, only much worse now 4 years later.

    By ScarRad on Jun 8, 2017

  14. Please please please restart this one. It’s too important. Thanks.

    By waywithwords on Jan 4, 2019

  15. Another request to start this one, please.

    By waywithwords on Jan 18, 2019

  16. This seems to have expired
    Any chance of an update ?

    By Hilda Fernhout on Aug 5, 2019

Post a Comment