March on Washington

For Freedom and Jobs

Civil Rights Movement

The fight for racial equality started with Civil Rights Movement:
  • Civil Rights Movement - groups of African Americans worked to overthrow laws that discriminated against them
  • started after 2 events in 1955:

  • August - Emmet Till (black teen from Chicago) was beaten and killed by 2 white men in Mississippi.
  • 2 men tried before an all-white jury
  • December - Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move seats for a white man
  • caused blacks to boycott buses for a year which got rid of the law

March On Washington

Racial discrimination was still a problem in 1963:
  • August 18th, 1963 - 250,000 blacks and white marched from Washington Memorial --> Lincoln Memorial.
  • Goal: attention to unemployment among blacks; Congress to pass John F Kennedy’s civil rights bill
  • People: Martin Luther King Jr., Philip Randolf, and Bayard Rustin organized the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom".
  • Groups: Civil rights groups, churches, synagogues, trade unions, fraternal organizations, and women's clubs, Movie stars, novelists, and politicians
  • Music: Marian Anderson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mahalia Jackson, and the trio Peter, Paul, and Mary
  • Carried Signs, Marched, Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream Speech" --> peaceful protest
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"I Have a Dream"

The focus was on Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream Speech":
  • Beginning - “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. . . . But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free.”
  • Based on Bible, Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg Address, Declaration of Independence
  • 1st half – racial injustice
  • 2nd half – future of equality and racial harmony
  • Repeated “I have a dream” to enforce hope
  • Ending - “And . . . when we allow freedom to ring, . . . we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’"
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What Happens Next ....

The March on Washington shows that peace is more effective than violence:

  • Kennedy proposed laws to protect civil rights.
  • However, he was assassinated in November 1863.
  • Then, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became president.
  • He proposed Kennedy's laws in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" Speech