Through Angels Eyes
A survival story from the civil rights movement's most explosive time and place: Birmingham, 1963.

What was the March on Washington?

Answer

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a political rally that took place on Wednesday August 28th, 1963 in support of civil and economic rights for Black people in the United States. The venue for the rally was the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and was one of the largest political rallies in United States history. Standing before the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr delivered what is arguably the most famous speech of the 20th Century - the ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.

The march was the brainchild of A Philip Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Randolph had been planning for a great march on Washington, D.C for over 20 years. The logistical planning and organization for the march was the responsibility of civil rights veteran Bayard Rustin. More than 2000 buses, 21 specially commissioned trains, 10 charter planes and countless cars poured people into the capital on that Wednesday morning. More than 250,000 people ended up marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was instrumental in spurring on the passing of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).

The March on Washington features in the Young Adult novel ‘Through Angel’s Eyes’, the first person account of a 13 year old Black girl as she experiences the pivotal events of the 1963 Birmingham civil rights campaign . . .

Soon John Lewis was replaced on the podium by a shorter, older man. He was there to introduce the man we'd all been waitin' to hear, the man he called the moral leader of our nation. As he made way for that speaker a hush swept across the mass a' people. That other man stepped up to the podium. For a minute he stood in silence, as if taken back by the size a' the crowd sprawled out before him. When he finally did speak, his voice was even more powerful than the last time I heard it. It was what I imagined rich, dark chocolate would sound like:

"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

"Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon of hope to millions of Negro slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacle of segregation and the chains of discrimination..."

Martin's words took me away. An' as I clung to Ronny's hand I looked into the future with him...

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"...Negro leader A. Philip Randolph announced today a proposal for a march on Washington, D.C. in support of the passage of a civil rights bill. The date of such was given as Wednesday, August 28. There has been a mixed reaction in the Negro community while among the general populace a fear of repetition of the recent negroid violence has given rise to ..."

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What was the March on Washington?

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