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March on Washington
August 28, 1963
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the March on Washington, or The Great March on Washington, was held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. The purpose of the march was to advocate for the civil and economic rights of African Americans.
At the march, Martin Luther King Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in which he called for an end to racism.
The March on Washington was organized by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, who built an alliance of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations that came together under the banner of ‘jobs and freedom’.
Estimates of the number of participants varied from 200,000 to 300,000; the most widely cited estimate is 250,000 people. Observers estimated that 75–80% of the marchers were black. The march was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history.
The March on Washington is credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and preceded the Selma Voting Rights Movement which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The 1963 March was an important part of the rapidly expanding Civil Rights Movement, which involved demonstrations and nonviolent direct action across the United States. 1963 also marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. Members of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference put aside their differences and came together for the march. Many whites and blacks also came together in the urgency for change in the nation.