On This Day In Black History: The 1963 March On Washington
Today is the 55-year-anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., delivered his famous “I have a Dream” speech. Over 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to advocate for the rights and equality of African-Americans. The march was deemed a catalyst in pressuring John F. Kennedy’s administration to initiate a strong Federal Civil Rights Bill in Congress.
The date of the event was significant because it was also the 8-year-anniversary of Emmett Till’s death.
Bayard Rustin was one of the main organizers of the event and is one of the most unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. Many point to the various aspects of Rustin’s identity as the reasons for him being overshadowed. He was a gay man and a part of the communist movement at one point.
“The organizers knew that if any violence occurred it would discredit the movement, so they really made sure that everybody who went to the March knew that this was a nonviolent event — that the way in which they conducted themselves would be really essential to its success.”- University of Minnesota professor William P. Jones (Foto).