March on Washington August 28, 1963

The first March on Washington occurred in the 1940s to protest discrimination in the New Deal programs. In 1963, the Civil Rights Act was stalled in congress. The continued use of de facto segregation made organizers decide it was time to march again.

Goals of the March on Washington

The event was to show the struggles the African Americans faced politically and socially. The purpose of the march was to advocate the passage of the Civil Rights Act which would advocate for equality in jobs and freedom for Black Americans. the NAACP joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and encouraged other black and white groups to attend the event.

Left: A. Phillip Rudolph Right: Martin Luther King Jr.

While 100,000 people were originally expected to attend the event, organizers were surprised to find that over 200,000 black and white americans showed up to march. A. Philip Randolph chaired the committee and it was organized by Bayard Rustin. Dr. Martin L. King Jr. was scheduled to speak at the march and awed the crowd when he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

The kind of obstacles they faced was government including the president didn’t take them seriously. They put together a march on Washington where they couldn’t be ignored.

President John F. Kennedy

This event impacted education today and equality for all people. Every student in the United States learns about the March on Washington and the significants of the Civil Rights Act. This event has had a continued effect because it got the Civil Rights Act moving in congress and pushed for equality for all citizens. Today, you can see peaceful protests similar to the March on Washington in connection to the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. For months, water protectors protested against the advancement of the Dakota Access oil pipeline in an attempts to preserve sacred land and save a precious water source.

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