Thursday, January 22, 2009


Amba directed her readers to an excellent collection of photographs from the Inauguration. One again, The Boston Globe has put up an excellent set of photographs. (I blogged one of their earlier sets of photos here.) Seeing some of the crowd shots it occurred to me that it might be interesting to compare Inauguration photos to those of the Million Man March from 1995. Fortunately both events have shots from similar angles. I'm not going to embed any photos because I don't want to violate any copy rights, but I do suggest taking a look.

[Added: I choose the Million Man March simply because I remember that (1) it was a huge event and (2) there had been controversy about the crowd size.]

First, views from the Capitol looking towards the Washington Monument.

Million Man March 1995
Obama Inauguration 2009

Next, views from the top of the Washington Monument looking towards the Capitol.

Million Man March 1995
Obama Inauguration 2009

Unfortunately I can't find any aerial shots of the Million Man March to match this one from the Inauguration. (Scroll down on this photo - it's very long.) The picture was taken about from a satellite about 40 minutes before the swearing in, so I imagine the crowd got bigger. I doubt there's satellite imagery from the MMM event, but I was hoping for some kind of aerial shot for comparisons sake.

Actually I'm surprised we haven't heard more about the MMM in the last few weeks. Or perhaps I've just missed it as I've been in a self-imposed semi-media blackout. Perhaps the media doesn't want to draw attention to the MMM because of Louis Farrakhan's role as an organizer, but it was an impressive event in its own right.

At first I thought these pictures suggest that the two events were comparable in size. But then I found an aerial photo at the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University. There size of the crowd at the MMM was a matter of some dispute, with the Park Service initially providing a seemingly too-low estimate, and the organizers providing a seemingly too-high estimate. The CRS eventually provided an estimate somewhere in the middle. The CRS article on the matter is here. Note the first photo in the body of the article - it shows that the depth of Obama's Inauguration crowd was greater. (Unfortunately the photo doesn't have a time stamp, so the crowd at the MMM may have been larger at another time in the day.) The crowd for the Million Man March only went a block-and-a-half or so past the Smithsonian Castle, while Obama's crowd goes all the way back to the Washington Monument. (And perhaps even further than that.)

I really recommend clicking through to the photos, and perhaps the CRS article if you're so inclined. Just something to keep in mind as crowd size estimates are reported.

No comments: