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On MLK Day, five decades after the March on Washington, LIFE.com presents pictures — many of which never ran in LIFE magazine — celebrating the people who transformed a rally into an era-defining event.

*** Were you, or was someone you know, at the March on Washington in 1963? If you have any photos from the event that you’d like to offer for possible inclusion in a special online gallery about the landmark event, please send lo-res JPEGs here, or contact us for details on how to contribute.

Not originally published in LIFE, but printed elsewhere in the years since. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963.

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