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The Big Ten - Crucial Events in the Modern Civil Rights Movement - March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom - 1963

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"March on Washington", Official Program, National Archives & Record Administration, Public Domain.

By 1963 there had been more than ten years of intense demonstrations, lawsuits, and the like for civil rights.  Important victories had been won, but the pace was very slow.  While the judicial and executive branches of government were leading, Congress was lagging.  What was really needed was federal law that prohibited discrimination and championed equality. 

The four major civil rights groups--the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) worked together with organizations all over the country and the federal government in planning a March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The goal was to bring thousands of demonstrators from diverse constituencies to petition Congress and the President to support civil rights legislation.   

In spite of tremendous fear and a great show of law enforcement officials, the march was peaceful and inspiring.  It was at this March that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., president of the SCLC, gave his famous speech highlighting his dreams for racial equality.

Original Release: May 28, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016


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