With Jim Crow segregation, voting discrimination and rampant joblessness not yet in rear view, 1963 was a tough time to be black in America.
In January, Alabama governor George C. Wallace would defiantly proclaim in his inaugural speech: "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!," sending a wave of intolerance across the south that would lead to the death of four young girls at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church and the shooting death of civil rights activist Medgar Evers at his home in Jackson, Mississippi later that year.
And though there were bright spots -- African-American student Harvey Gantt entering Clemson University in South Carolina, the last U.S. state to hold out against racial integration, and James Meredith becoming the first black person to graduate from Ole Miss -- it would be a while before true change would come (as soul singer Sam Cooke's 1963-inspired hit proclaimed).
But has it?
By some estimates, no, with African Americans only barely better off in the war on poverty and imprisonment that pervades the news today. By other summations, the black community is leaps and bounds beyond where it was back in 1963.
As we acknowledge the anniversary of the 1963 March On Washington For Jobs & Freedom, a rally with parallel issues in mind, the Huffington Post has laid out a look at black life then and now to help you decide.
Additional reporting by Rhonesha Byng.