Sunday, August 10, 2014

This Is the Day: The March on Washington by Leonard Freed

I received an electronic copy of this book courtesy of Getty Publications via NetGalley. I requested it because I’ve been paying more attention to what I call Coffee Table Books. This is a photo-essay book covering the 1963 March on Washington featuring photography by Leonard Freed. 

In the book’s foreword, Julian Bond gives insight about the purpose of the march (which changed after a speech by President Kennedy), choosing an organizer, and disagreement over words in John Lewis’s speech. He goes on to discuss the massive security detail that was put in place in Washington, D.C. to ensure a peaceful demonstration. This ultimately turned out to be a waste of resources. 

In Dyson’s essay which follows, he touches on quite a bit in only a few pages. A parallel is drawn between the death’s of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till in only one paragraph. One paragraph more and he is on to discussing efforts to address fair employment. Not much further and Dyson identifies individuals with “hurt egos” because they would not get to speak at the march. I considered this a gateway essay which  identified starting points should decided to read more about the events leading up to the march.

The afterword begins with Paul Farber discussing Leonard Freed's arrival in Washington on the day of the march. Farber  gives a beautifully written and captivating recount of Freed's day and is somehow able to reveal the intimacy between Freed and his photography. I enjoyed reading this more than the previous sections an wonder, given the type of book this is, if this should've been expanded to cover the book's narration.

This photo-essay includes seventy-five photographs. A hardcover copy of This Is the Day would fit well into the Coffee Table Book category. It’s a great way to start the conversation about this historical event that is not talked about often these days. 

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This Is the Day: The March on Washington on Amazon

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