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It was December 1932, and the Great Depression had set in. People were out of work and standing in soup lines. In an effort to bring more attention to the plight of the needy by encouraging the government to provide more benefits to the unemployed, approximately 3,000 “hunger marchers” descended on Washington, D.C.

They crowded city streets, along with the media, and wound their way to the Capitol, but not without the police following them every step of the way — primarily because the march’s leadership included registered Communists. Police were armed with riot guns and tear gas, prompting many photographers to wear gas masks while covering the march.

This collection of photographs chronicles the marchers’ arrival in Washington, their movement through the city, and watchful officers tracking them the entire day.

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