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March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place on August 28, 1963. It was organized principally by A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr.. During this March, King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The March caused great concern within the administration of President John F. Kennedy. It was believed that the March would undermine pending civil rights legislation and damage the international image of the United States. On the contrary, the March was a major factor leading to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The March was also condemned by the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X, who termed it the “farce on Washington”.

An earlier March on Washington had been proposed by Randolph, Rustin, and A.J. Muste in 1941 to protest racial segregation in the armed forces. This March was cancelled after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued the Fair Employment Act.

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