Re: March on Washington

Melinda M. Schwenk (
Thu, 30 Oct 1997 23:40:26 -0500

Jesse Lemisch wrote about the problems in distinguishing memories from
the mediated recollections of others. An important point - perhaps you
could elaborate briefly on the presence of the Nazis at the March on
Washington? I am very much interested in the kind of memories,
sensations, "flashes" of recall which can be separated from the more
formally recorded events. What was there to eat? What were the smells
like? How was the anxiety that 'everybody must get out of town before
dark' manifested? Perhaps we should have a larger discussion of how
personal memories become subsumed in the collective, and whether it is
important to re-instate the personal.

BTW I have heard from a couple of the film directors/cameramen on the
scene for the USIA that Bayard Rustin was very much interested in
getting the day's messages disseminated around the world and cooperated
with the government to help them get the best shots. It was quite the
international, mass-mediated event - even covered in Europe a bit on
satellite. But the USIA's film avoided allowing the unknown individuals
speak - only the mega-stars. It would be good to have a sense what the
people on the ground were thinking, feeling and doing on that day.


Melinda Schwenk
Annenberg School for Communication
Univ. of PA
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