48 years ago today: the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
On August 28, 1963, over 250,000 people descended on the National Mall to advocate for social, political and economic justice for African Americans in the United States. The Freedom March is widely credited for pushing the JFK Administration and Congress to move forward on civil rights legislation.
The nine goals of the rights march:
- A comprehensive civil rights bill from the present Congress, including provisions guaranteeing access to public accommodations, adequate and integrated education, protection of the right to vote, better housing, and authority for the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief when individuals (sic) constitutional rights are violated.
- Withholding of Federal funds from all programs in which discrimination exists.
- Desegregation of all public schools in 1963.
- A reduction in Congressional seats in states where citizens are disenfranchised.
- A stronger Executive Order prohibiting discrimination in all housing programs supported by Federal Funds.
- A massive Federal Program to train and place unemployed workers.
- An increase in the minimum wage to $2 an hour. The Federal minimum covering workers in interstate industries.
- Extension of the Fair Labor Standards Act to include exempted fields of employment.
- A Federal Fair Employment Practices Act barring discrimination in all employments.
The legacy of the 1963 Freedom March centers around Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. You can view the full speech here. I also highly recommend reading Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Chairman John Lewis’s speech - now Congressman Lewis (D-Atlanta) - from the March on Washington.
Take a moment today to consider where we’ve been, where we are today, how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.