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March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

From Academic Kids

Demonstrator at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
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Demonstrator at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a political rally that took place on August 28, 1963. It was organized principally by A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr. During this March, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Between 200,000 and 500,000 people were invloved.

The March caused great concern within the administration of President John F. Kennedy. It was believed that the march would undermine pending civil rights legislation and damage the international image of the United States. On the contrary, the March was a major factor leading to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The March was also condemned by the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X, who termed it the "farce on Washington".

An earlier March on Washington had been proposed by Randolph, Rustin, and A.J. Muste in 1941 to protest racial segregation in the armed forces. This march was cancelled after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued the Fair Employment Act.

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