March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom By: Erik Dahl

After the second world war finished and the soldiers came home, African Americans lost their tolerance for being treated as lesser people. They were fighting for minority rights overseas in Europe, but were still treated poorly at home. It occurred to these people that in order to change that, they had to persuade the heart of America that terrible injustices were happening across the country to many people just because of the color of their skin. However, they had to be careful and only use peaceful protests because if they became violent, they would look like the monsters they were trying to destroy. One of the most famous gatherings to fight these injustices happened at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on August 28th, 1963, The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom .

The biggest goal for this protest was to gain economic equality for minorities. In the mid 1900's, employers would often hire a white person over a more qualified person of color. And if they did hire an African American, they would often times pay less than they would a white person. They gathered at the foot of the Lincoln memorial, a symbol for freedom, to show that the economy is not fair, and it is set up in such a way that gives African Americans a disadvantage. They hoped that by doing this, people would understand that it is wrong and change it for the better.

The March on Washington is a famous protest made during the civil rights movement. Records show that over two hundred thousand showed up to protest for rights in front of the Lincoln memorial. People of all backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities showed up so they could try to make America a more fair place for all to live in. Previously, Phillip Randolph set up a separate march on Washington, but it was canceled because the government changed the law they were protesting before they got the chance to march. That same man was one of the leaders of the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Other leaders were Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. with his "I have a Dream" speech, James farmer who was the head of CORE, Charles McDew of SNCC, and Malcolm X, though he disapproved of the event. Together, these leaders gathered almost a quarter million people to help protest change for economic equality.

Actual footage from Reverend Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech.

The people that showed up to protest in Washington had many obstacles they had to overcome in daily life. For instance, jobs would often hire white people over a more qualified black person because they were racist. The goal of this march was to show the government how unfair it was that this was taking place. In addition to this, African Americans were unable to go to the bathroom in certain places, drink from certain fountains, eat at certain places, or buy certain goods just because of their skin. They believed that it was time for a change, and and that America should be equal for all people. This foundation of equality for all was what America was built on, but it appears that the country had lost their way. All the protesters were doing was helping them find it again.

The lasting impact of this event was shown with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which officially ended discrimination based on gender, race, or religion. This was the best outcome anyone could have asked for, and the civil rights activists achieved it through this march as well as other peaceful protesting methods. Today, people have these brave leaders to thank for the equality that is almost everywhere. Few areas exist where there is still discrimination or segregation in America. As for where injustices do occur, people in America are seemingly unafraid to protest it and speak their mind to try to make their country a better place for everyone to live in.

African Americans were unfairly at a disadvantage in life before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today, it can be said that women are at a similar disadvantage. There are many stereotypes as well as economic barriers that should be broken in order to make our country equal for all people. Many jobs are thought to be only for men because they may involve using you hands or getting dirty. However, this is an unfair assumption because anybody is fit to do any job if they have the right qualifications. In addition, researchers think that the root of the problem can stem from schooling. Engineering is a male dominated field, but not for a lack in interest by women. In elementary school, both the boys and girls seem to have a similar level of interest in the engineering classes taught in schools. However, research shows that by middle school, they have lost the desire to pursue this interest, and by high school, there are virtually no women left pursuing engineering. People are beginning to pinpoint these biases on unfair treatment in schools between genders as well as segregation in the toy market, making boys lean toward building things like with Lego and teaching girls at a young age to care for babies like with Barbie. Recently, groups have started protesting this unfair treatment of genders so anybody can become anything they want in life without feeling pressured to become something else. Hopefully, changes will be made so that children of the future will have freedom of choice rather than being forced in the way of pop culture and what toy companies deem appropriate for boys and girls.

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Martin Luther King Jr. and the Global Freedom Struggle. (n.d.). King Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from march_on_washington_for_jobs_and_freedom/

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Created By
Erik Dahl


Created with images by MarkThomas - "lincoln memorial washington dc abraham lincoln" • Phil Roeder - "United States Capitol" • Olichel - "flag american usa" • retzer_c - "washington dc court house architecture"

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