The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom or The Great March on Washington, was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history and called for civil and economic rights for African Americans. It took place in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic I Have a Dream speech advocating racial harmony during the march.
The march was organized by a group of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations, under the theme “jobs, and freedom.” It is estimated that approximately 200,000 to 300,000 people attended. Observers estimated that 75–80% of the marchers were African Americana and the remaining marchers identified with other ethnic or racial origins.
The magnitude of the march is widely credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).
[Video Copyrighted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1963. Authorized by The King Center, Atlanta, GA. For more information about building Dr. King’s Beloved Community, visit www.thekingcenter.org]
Initially, organizers disagreed over the purpose of the march. The NAACP and Urban League saw it as a gesture of support for a civil rights bill that had been introduced by the Kennedy Administration. On the other hand, Randolph, King, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) saw it as a way of raising both civil rights and economic issues to national attention beyond the Kennedy bill. A third group, comprised by both the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) saw it as a way of challenging and condemning the Kennedy administration’s inaction and lack of support for civil rights for African Americans.
Ultimately, the various civil rights groups involved agreed that the march should address the following universal goals:
Passage of meaningful civil rights legislation; Immediate elimination of school segregation; A program of public works, including job training, for the unemployed; A Federal law prohibiting discrimination in public or private hiring; A $2-an-hour minimum wage nationwide; Withholding Federal funds from programs that tolerate discrimination; Enforcement of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution by reducing congressional representation from States that disenfranchise citizens; A broadened Fair Labor Standards Act to currently excluded employment areas; Authority for the Attorney General to institute injunctive suits when constitutional rights are violated.
On August 28, 2013, America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the seminal speech of the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. King’s messages still have a lasting and universal impact. Share your dream! #IDREAM and join us on August 26 at 6am EST for a global viewing party of the March on Washington here: at the CO.NX virtual portal http://goo.gl/u34BPC