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Martin Luther King at the march on Washington in 1963. Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORB
The Rev King didn't dream of better people; he dreamed of a better system
The rented run-down former church on West 130th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem, from which Bayard Rustin organised the 1963 March on Washington, "ran on adrenaline and excitement", says Rachelle Horowitz, who organised the transport for the event.


A memorial to victims of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. A school in Decatur, Georgia, faced the prospect of a similar tragedy. Photograph: Julio Cortez/AP
The heroism of Antoinette Tuff reveals what's missing from politics
In January, when Barack Obama called for the US nation to put pressure on politicians to pass gun control legislation, he warned: "Every day we wait [the number of Americans who die at the end of a gun] will keep growing." Last Tuesday was set to be one of those days. While legislation lay orphaned in Congress, 20-year-old Michael Hill walked into Ronald E McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, with an AK-47-style assault rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition and "nothing to live for".


Bayard Rustin points to a map showing the path of the March on Washington during a news conference at the New York City headquarters in August 1963. Photo: AP
Bayard Rustin: the gay black pacifist at the heart of the March on Washington
When civil rights leaders met at the Roosevelt Hotel in Harlem in early July 1963 to hammer out the ground rules by which they would work together to organise the March on Washington there was really only one main sticking point: Bayard Rustin.
The Misremembering of ‘I Have a Dream’


A protest in New York against government surveillance programmes and the NYPD
America cares for you – until you start asking questions
When Ray Kelly, the man Barack Obama is currently considering to lead homeland security, was the New York City police commissioner, he allegedly had a policy of terrorising black and Latino neighbourhoods.


Washington DC, 1963, Martin Luther King reaches the climax of his speech. Photograph: © Bob Adelman/Magnum
Martin Luther King: the story behind his 'I have a dream' speech
The night before the March on Washington, on 28 August 1963, Martin Luther King asked his aides for advice about the next day's speech. "Don't use the lines about 'I have a dream', his adviser Wyatt Walker told him. "It's trite, it's cliche. You've used it too many times already."


Langston Hughes on the front steps of his house in Harlem, New York City in 1958. Photograph by Robert W Kelley/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Langston Hughes showed me what it meant to be a black writer
One of my first columns on these pages didn't make it into the paper. I'd written about the Nato bombing of Bosnia and the comment editor at the time thought I should stick to subjects closer to home. "We have people who can write about Bosnia," he said. "Can you add an ethnic sensibility to this."
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Stranger in a Strange Land – Encounters in the Disunited States
book review
'It often takes an outsider to look inside. This is especially true of the United States.'
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