On the anniversary of the March on Washington, LIFE.com presents a selection of pictures — most of which never ran in LIFE magazine — commemorating that day. But what is especially moving about so many of these pictures (those shot “on the ground” by Paul Schutzer, in particular) is that they illustrate the scene as witnessed not by those who led and organized the event, but by those in the crowd. There is huge emotion here, and excitement and pride — but above and beyond everything else, these photos evince a near-palpable sense of inclusion and, even if only for a moment, a suggestion that power was passing to the people.
Not originally published in LIFE: Scene from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963.
See more photos here.