The Civil Rights Movement was awash in memory as the March in Washington in 1963, also known as Washington on Jobs for the Freedom and Freedom, or The Great March on Washington.

The march began as two days of protests and sit-ins, but instead ended as a march of 250,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial. More than 3,000 members of the press covered the event, According to NAACP.

On August 28, 1963, the file photo shows civil rights protesters gathering at the Washington Memorial Grounds before noon, before marching to the Lincoln Memorial, seen in the background on the right, with Washington for Jobs and Freedom The march will end with a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., now known as the "I Have a Dream" speech.  (AP photo, file)

On August 28, 1963, the file photo shows civil rights protesters gathering at the Washington Memorial Grounds before noon, before marching to the Lincoln Memorial, seen in the background on the right, with Washington for Jobs and Freedom The march will end with a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., now known as the “I Have a Dream” speech. (AP photo, file)

The initial focus of March was to focus on unemployment and urge public works programs to employ more black people; It evolved into a catalytic moment for civil rights, culminating in Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream Dream” speech.

The effects of the march – and the King’s speeches – are understandable: both are credited with early help in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Here’s what you need to know about the March in 1963 in Washington.

On August 28, 1963, along with other civil rights protesters who moved from Washington Memorial to Lincoln Memorial during March of Washington, were left with weapons during the march along Constitution Avenue, Drs.  Martin Luther King Jr., file photo.  (AP photo, file)

On August 28, 1963, along with other civil rights protesters who moved from Washington Memorial to Lincoln Memorial during March of Washington, were left with weapons during the march along Constitution Avenue, Drs. Martin Luther King Jr., file photo. (AP photo, file)

Original

March was born with the vision of two men: A. Phillip Philip Randolph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porter, and Roy Wilkins, executive cessatory of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Randolph attempted to organize a march in 1941, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt met him and agreed to set up a Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) to investigate allegations of racial discrimination.

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FEPC lasted only five years, when Congress cut funding and dissolved the committee.

Randolph eventually became part of the Joint Civil Rights Leadership Council, which included Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis (then chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee), Wilkins and Whitney Young, According to the National Park Service.

The final blow came in 1963 in the wake of a confrontation between protesters and police in Birmingham, Ala.

On this July 2, 1963, file photo, six leaders of the nation's largest black civil rights organizations posed at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.  From left: John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolence Coordination Committee;  Whitney Young, Urban League National Director;  a.  Philip Randolph, president of the Negro American Labor Council;  Martin Luther King Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference;  James Farmer, Congress of Racial Equity Director;  And Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  (AP Photo / Harry Harris, File)

On this July 2, 1963, file photo, six leaders of the nation’s largest black civil rights organizations posed at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. From left: John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolence Coordination Committee; Whitney Young, Urban League National Director; a. Philip Randolph, president of the Negro American Labor Council; Martin Luther King Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; James Farmer, Congress of Racial Equity Director; And Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. (AP Photo / Harry Harris, File)

Before march

As Roosevelt did in 1941, President John F. Kennedy met Randolph and King in 1963 ahead of their planned protests in Washington DC.

Kennedy worried that the demonstration would end in violence, much as it did in Birmingham. He Told the protesters that the march was “sick” and the organizers invited according to the “atmosphere of intimidation”, History.com.

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Organizers insisted on complying with the march, and Kennedy had to support the march in an effort to maintain peace and organization. He Assigned his brother, Robert, to cooperate with civil rights leaders to ensure safety.

Kennedy and the organizers agreed to emphasize the peaceful element of the protest.

Civil Rights March in Washington, DC, Drs.  In a crowd with Martin Luther King Jr. and Matthew Ahman.  (Nar - 582015 - Restoration. 2oration August 1963)

Civil Rights March in Washington, DC, Drs. In a crowd with Martin Luther King Jr. and Matthew Ahman. (Nar – 582015 – Restoration. 2oration August 1963)
(National Archives)

Disharmony

Malcolm X famously rejected the march, calling it a “hit on Washington”. According to the Washington Post.

Baird Rustin, who served as an aide to Randolph and helped much of the organization, worried that the march might turn violent and undermine the movement’s international image.

“We were bombing because we were winning, not because we were losing,” Rustin wrote After the incident in the magazine Liberation. “But our biggest mistake was to carry out such a power march with a quarter of a million people, and not to understand that counter-revolutionaries would strike back in some such way.”

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Leaders also could not agree on a singular purpose for the march: some groups, including the NAACP, saw the march as a chance to support Kennedy’s new civil rights bill; King and Randolph believed that the march would help bring civil rights issues to national attention.

The group ultimately decided on a series of goals to focus on in March, including meaningful civil rights legislation, the immediate end of school segregation, a federal law against discrimination in the workplace, and a set of employment concerns.

Dr. in the Civil Rights March of Washington, DC (8/28/1963 NA).  Martin Luther King Jr. Speaks

Dr. in the Civil Rights March of Washington, DC (8/28/1963 NA). Martin Luther King Jr. Speaks
(National Archives)

“I have a dream”

Various leaders agreed to an order for each of them, with the king taking the final place. King’s speech called for an end to racism, citing previous great American speeches on freedom, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Near the end of the speech, Mahalia Jackson – a gospel singer – shouted to the crowd, “Tell them about the dream, Martin!”

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The king then reformed a speech that had been built on previous speeches, in which he recounted his “dream”, in which he outlined his vision for her: He Saw a country where all would stand equal to each other, “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

The speech is considered to be the biggest moment of the march. Many people have described it as a masterpiece of rhetoric, for which it has been immortalized in the National Recording Registry.

“I would advise [everyone] Read the whole thing, ” Joan Gavin saidA worker present in March. “There was a lot of optimism, and the feeling that we were moving fast from here, but a lot of work had to be done.”

The National Park Service also added an inscription of the speech to the place where the king distributed it.