The March on Washington was one of the largest demonstrations for human rights in U.S. history. Participants in the March represented different civil rights groups, labor unions, and religious organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the American Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
Some people feared that the march would turn violent, which could end up hurting the cause of civil rights. The militant Malcolm X claimed the march was a collaboration with the oppressors, the whites.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” in which he described his vision of a world in which people were judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
African American demands for economic justice
The purpose of the march was to demand economic justice, such as equal access to public facilities and accommodations, housing, education, and jobs.
Many African American leaders believed that economic deprivation and exploitation was as significant a problem as racism. The march attracted widespread news coverage that helped gain broad public support for the protestors’ demands. Within a year, important legislation, such as the Fair Employment Practices Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was passed.
Source: The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
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