Experiments with Truth: Analysis

An oral history of the March on Washington

Ken Howard, a D.C. student working a summer job at the post office before entering Howard University in the fall, took a bus downtown to join a massive gathering on the National Mall. “The crowd was just enormous,” he recalls. “Kind of like the feeling you get when a thunderstorm is coming and you know it is going to really happen. There was an expectation and excitement that this march finally would make a difference.”

Only a few months before, in that electric atmosphere of anticipation, 32-year-old singer-songwriter Sam Cooke composed “A Change Is Gonna Come,” the song that would become the anthem of the civil rights movement.

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