When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech on the Lincoln Memorial steps during 1963's March on Washington, more than a few famous faces were on hand to help the cause. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, click on to see which celebrities marched with King.
Hollywood actors and other celebrities flew to Washington, D.C., to take part in the March on Washington on a "celebrity plane" organized by Harry Belafonte and Clarence Jones, King's lawyer, advisor and close friend. Here Belafonte, James Garner, Marlon Brando and Charlton Heston deboard the chartered plane.
Garner, in his autobiography, said that the FBI called each celebrity who was to ride the plane one by one the night before, warning them to stay away, "saying they couldn’t guarantee our safety."
The day's events began at 10 a.m. on Aug. 28, 1963, with the folksinger Joan Baez performing the spiritual "Oh Freedom."
Baez was followed by folk and blues singer Odetta, often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement," who sang "O Freedom," "Come and Go with Me to That Land" and "I'm On My Way."
Folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary performed their hit version of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind."
With Baez providing harmonies, Dylan himself sang two songs "When the Ship Comes In" and "Only a Pawn in Their Game," the latter about the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers.
Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who had first met King in 1956 and sang during the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott that year, also performed at the March on Washington, singing "I Been ‘Buked and I Been Scorned." She would also perform five years later at King's funeral, singing "Take My Hand, Precious Lord."
Josephine Baker, who had become an iconic entertainer in France during the 1920s and '30s, also spoke at the March, appearing in her French Resistance uniform (center). She told the crowd, "I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents. And much more. But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad."
Actor Ossie Davis (pictured) and his wife, Ruby Dee, famously served as emcees for the March and helped organize the event. David even wrote a skit for movie stars to perform, but organizers felt it was too complicated.
Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte and Charlton Heston are seen in front of the statute of Abraham Lincoln inside the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington. Poitier, who by then had starred in "Blackboard Jungle," "The Defiant Ones" and "A Raisin in the Sun," would become the first black Best Actor Oscar winner in 1964 for his performance in "Lilies of the Field," released about a month after the March.
Charlton Heston and Marlon Brando speak with author James Baldwin during the March on Washington. The openly gay Baldwin served as one of the literary voices of the civil rights era, producing the essay collection "Notes of a Native Son" and novels such as "Giovanni's Room" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain."
Actor and singer Sammy Davis Jr. (left) and NAACP Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins are interviewed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington.
Legendary singer/actress Lena Horne, a long-time fighter for equality, also participated in the March on Washington.
Marlon Brando, by then a five-time Oscar nominee for his performances in "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Viva Zapata!," "Julius Caesar," "On the Waterfront" and "Sayonara," is seen during the March on Washington.
In a planning meeting for the event, Brando had actually suggested the celebrities chain themselves to the Lincoln Memorial, according to James Garner's autobiography. That idea was shot down by then Screen Actors Guild president Heston, who threatened to walk if any of the other celebrities did any "militant" stuff, Garner wrote.
Charlton Heston, an Oscar-winner for "Ben-Hur" three years earlier and also famous for his role as Moses in 1956's "The Ten Commandments," is seen in closeup at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington.
Actor Paul Newman speaks with a reporter during the March on Washington. Newman's wife, actress Joanne Woodward, also attended the event.
Burt Lancaster, an Oscar-winner for "Elmer Gantry" and a nominee for "From Here to Eternity" and "Birdman of Alcatraz," joins Harry Belafonte and Charlton Heston during the March on Washington.
Sammy Davis Jr. waves to the crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The Rat Pack star often lent his celebrity and finances to the civil rights movement and refused to perform in any segregated clubs.
Jackie Robinson attended the March on Washington with his son David. Robinson, who had broken Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, had been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame the year before.
Bill Russell (left, holding paper), then in the midst of a run of eight-straight NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, attended the March on Washington, sitting up close to watch King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
James Baldwin and Marlon Brando stand on the steps of the Lincolm Memorial during the March on Washington.
Photographer, musician and writer Gordon Parks attends the March on Washington. He would find even more fame in 1969 by directing the film adaptation of his autobiographical novel "The Learning Tree," making him Hollywood's first major black director. He would also direct the 1971 "blaxploitation" movie "Shaft" and its 1972 sequel "Shaft's Big Score."
Among the other celebrities who attended the March on Washington rally were actress Diahann Carroll (seen here with Sammy Davis Jr. in 1968) and ...
"Beyond the Sea" and "Splish Splash" singer Bobby Darin (seen here in a 1959 publicity photo)
Actor Tony Curtis, an Oscar-nominee alongside co-star Sidney Poitier for 1958's "The Defiant Ones" who had also starred in the hits "Some Like it Hot" and "Spartacus" by 1963
Austrian-American folk singer Theodore Bikel, who had made his film debut in 1951's "The African Queen" and who had also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for playing Sheriff Max Muller opposite Poitier and Curtis in "The Defiant Ones"
Gregory Peck, who'd won an Academy Award for Best Actor earlier in the year for his performance in "To Kill a Mockingbird" in his fifth overall Oscar nomination
"West Side Story" Academy Award-winning actress Rita Moreno
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "The Pink Panther" director Blake Edwards
Actor Tony Franciosa, an Oscar-nominee for 1957's "A Hatful of Rain" who had also starred in the movies "Career" and "A Face in the Crowd" by 1963
Sam Peckinpah, seen here with Bob Dylan on the set of 1973's "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid," who had directed the western "Ride the High Country" the year before and would go on to direct movies such as "The Wild Bunch," "Straw Dogs" and "The Getaway"