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The August 1963 March on Washington Through the Lens of Food, Part 1

March Organizers Bayard Rustin and Cleveland Robinson

As part of our series Feeding the Revolution, we turn to 1963 March on Washington. Over the next fews days we we delve into the documentary history of food and the event and what organizer Bayard Rustin called

The Sandwich Brigade. 

On August 17, 1963 the Chicago Defender wrote, "An army, they say, marches on its stomach. That’s why the men who are making plans for the Aug. 28 Civil Rights “March on Washington” have ordered 80,000 cheese sandwiches. They’ve ordered 80,000 apples too. And just to be sure, they’ve ordered 80,000 pieces of cake." The paper went on to say, "These are just three of the many details that are keeping" organizers Rustin, A. Phillip Randolph, and Cleveland Robinson busy at "march headquarters in New York and Washington." They understand that a person "

who is hungry or thirsty ... may forget why he came to Washington in the first place, i.e. to demonstrate “for jobs and freedom.”

From the start organizers put out the word, if you plan on attending the event, bring food. But preparation had begun for the "more than 100,000" who might need help in the form of food during the event. 

Stories in the Series Feeding the Revolution with Related Recipes:


Bayard Rustin’s Sandwich Brigade & the March on Washington:

[Listen Now]


What Was The Sandwhich Bridgage?

What Was The Sandwhich Bridgage?

A Herkimer Food Memory: Hot Sandwiches Too Good To Be Legal

A Herkimer Food Memory: Hot Sandwiches Too Good To Be Legal