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If focusing only on events that took place in the 1960s, one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s most significant achievements is organizing and leading the March on Washington in 1963. On August 28, King, along with the National Association for Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, gathered together between 250,000 and 300,000 peaceful protestors of both blacks and whites to fight against job inequality, segregation, disenfranchisement, and discrimination. The march was officially called the March for Jobs and Freedom (HISTORY, "Martin Luther King, Jr."; "March on Washington").
Many efforts went into ensuring the event remained peaceful, including planning a speech given by John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In order to "preserve the atmosphere of goodwill, leaders of the march persuaded Lewis" to eliminate from his speech any severe criticisms of John F. Kennedy's administration. The protest took place 100 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation ("March on Washington"; Congress of Racial Equality, "March on Washington"). The highlight of the event was King's "I Have a Dream" speech delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Some of his most memorable words are "This nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'" ("Martin Luther King, Jr."). Soon after the march, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
A second significant event that took place in 1965 concerned violence that broke out between "white segregationists and peaceful demonstrators in Selma, Alabama," just after the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had organized a campaign to register African-Americn voters. After the violence broke out, King led another march from Selma to Montgomery. Soon after the march on Montgomery, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act ("Martin Luther King, Jr.").
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