The photograph, taken on the afternoon of August 28, 1963, is striking not only for who is pictured but for who is not. A study of the layering of power and powerlessness in American society, it shows the leaders of the civil-rights movement—including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis (then head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), and Roy Wilkins, of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People—posing with President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office the day of the March on Washington.

No women appear in the photograph of the meeting because none were invited. That affront would raise the ire of Rosa Parks, who, according to her biographer the historian Douglas Brinkley, “found the entire event, including King’s soaring oratory, tainted by a male chauvinism every bit as ugly in its discrimination as Jim Crow.” The history books would note that the White House meeting included all the speakers at the march, but, in fact, one speaker was missing.