Marching Against Oppression Protesting For Freedom

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Background Information

The March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom was held in Washington DC on August 28, 1963. Over 300'00 people took part in the march, holding record as the second most attended protest in American history. The purpose of the march was to protest discrimination and unfair treatment towards African Americans in the workplace and in life. In the 1960's, segregation was illegal, but discrimination was common and frequent. Many white men and women were not happy with the new rule, and consequently it had only increased their racism. Black students and employees found it hard to seven study and work without being harassed or assaulted just because of the color of their skin.

Events Leading Up To The March

Discrimination has never been a new concept in American history. By the 1960's, African Americans were given the right to vote, go to school and work. Segregation towards people of color may have been outlawed, however, discrimination was at an all time high. Social leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X had paved a way for new ways of thought in the 60's. MLK spoke of peace between races and passive desegregation. Malcolm X however, believed in protecting oneself against aggression and racism, and the segregation of races. The March on Washington was a protest against discrimination towards African Americans in the workplace, schools, and in general.

The Nation of Islam was an African American political and religious movement led by Malcolm X


Whether they were protesting for peaceful desegregation or assertive segregation, all African Americans faced obstacles. People of color still do today, however, during the civil rights movement, they encountered life threatening experiences simply for protesting for their own rights. Groups like the Klu KLux Klan used physical harm and fear to desegregate America. More commonly, however, discrimination could be seen in all places. White bosses in the workplace could make work harder for a black employee, and "colored" public places and items tended to be less up kept than "non-colored" ones. Today, racism still is an issue, as it might always be. However, because of the brave men and women who made their voices heard in the 60's, we now are a completely desegregated country. Overcoming these obstacles may have seemed frightening or unattainable, but through hard work and perseverance, they did it.

Minnesota Women's March
"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a b****. You've got to go out and kick a**." —Maya Angelou

The 2017 Women's March

On January 21st, 2017, another important march happened. Taking place only a few days after President Trump's inauguration, the Women's March made a statement to all of America. Many locations took part in this powerful protest. In Washington, women marched proudly to the state capital, letting all of the US know that they demanded equal rights.


The March on Washington and the Women's March are very similar, not in the topic that they protest against, but the idea. Albeit, people of color in the 60's were heavily discriminated against and suffered much more than women today in 2017. That fact is undeniable. However, both marches protest the idea that one race or sex is more powerful than another. The March on Washington was to protest the idea that white people should be held higher than people of color, and the protesters of the Women's March believed that men were no more powerful than women. Leaders in the 60's like MLK and Malcolm X had taken a stand against discrimination just as women in power like Minnesotan Senator Amy Klobuchar had done this year. In conclusion, both the Women's March and the March on Washington had similar ideas for what they were protesting against, and ultimately in the end, they made their voices heard.

Me and a friend at the Women's March

Citations Staff. (2009). March on Washington. Retrieved April 26, 2017, from

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2017, from

Smith-Spark, L. (2017, January 21). Protesters rally worldwide in solidarity with Washington march. Retrieved April 26, 2017, from

All pictures of the Minnesota Women's March taken by me.

By Amaya J. Schmitt

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