Tuesday 20 November 2018

The Freedom Rally Reception at Burt Lancaster's Home

"The summer of 1963 saw an upsurge of Hollywood engagement in the movement, as more A-list stars, such as Paul Newman and Marlon Brando, proved their willingness to organize on their own risk controversy while doing so. The examples set by the Leading Six, as well as King's first visit to Los Angeles in June 1963, motivated them. Newman agreed to speak at a Rally for Freedom celebrating King's leadership at Birmingham, and a reception at Burt Lancaster's home with about 250 guests followed. Newman and Brando proved the top donors and soon went to Gadsden, Alabama, in an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate between city officials and civil rights activists."
Raymond (2017)

Above: Fundraiser at Burt Lancaster’s home. Left to right: Tony Franciosa (face cut off), Ralph Abernathy, Paul Newman, Polly Bergan, Joanne Woodward, King, Celes King III (behind Davis), Sammy Davis, Marlon Brando, Lloyd Bridges (partial photo.) 1963


Above: Rev. Ralph Abernathy (co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference) speaking at the reception after the Freedom Rally at the home of Burt Lancaster. Present are Dr. King, Marlon Brando, Atty. Jack Tenner, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, and Gilbert Lindsay. Los Angeles. 1963.

Above: Speaking at the reception after Freedom Rally is the famed actor Marlon Brando. The reception was held in the home of Burt Lancaster, with 250 people in attendance. During the reception Martin Luther King Jr. said, “You can help us in Birmingham by getting rid of segregation in Los Angeles.” Overall Freedom Rally generated $75,000: $35,000 at rally, $20,000 at Burt Lancaster’s home and $20,000 pledged by Sammy Davis Jr. 1963

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- Raymond, E. (2017). No on 14. In: B. J. Schulman & J. E. Zelizer (eds.) Media Nation: The Political History of News in Modern America
- photographs and their descriptions via and via and via


  1. I am still looking for some transcripts or audio material, it's quite difficult to find the content of the speeches.
    Many thanks for Wow-ing, Derek!

  2. Curious if you were ever able to find any audio or transcripts from this fundraiser?