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What brought Dr. King and all those protesters to the Lincoln Memorial?

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Madeleine Wells eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It looks like you are referring to the "March on Washington, D.C. for Jobs and Freedom" on August 28, 1963. On this day, more than 250,000 people, white and black, converged on the city to support the call for meaningful civil rights reforms and effective programs to combat pervasive unemployment.

The Reverend Martin Luther King also made his historic "I Have a Dream" speech on that day. All participating marchers met at the Washington Memorial, where a stage had been set up for Hollywood stars and famous singers to entertain the crowd, before they marched to the Lincoln Memorial for the formal part of the program.

The Lincoln Memorial program began with the singing of the National Anthem by Marian Anderson. During the program, a tribute was paid to the "Negro Women Fighters for Freedom." Religious, social justice, and labor organization leaders gave speeches for the remainder of the program. The last speaker was the Reverend Martin Luther King, who gave his "I Have a Dream" speech before thousands of people. As mentioned above, Dr. King and all the protestors had gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to support meaningful civil rights reforms and effective employment solutions for the working poor.

Among the civil rights reforms demanded was the right for all African-Americans to vote, to attend desegregated schools, to access all public accommodations, and to obtain decent housing. The protestors also demanded dignified and meaningful employment for all Americans. In order to accomplish this, they proposed that a massive federal program be created to train workers and to place them in jobs that paid living wages. Thus, a national minimum wage was thought to be a necessary tool with which to combat unemployment. The protestors also demanded that the Fair Labor Standards Act began including all areas of employment.

Finally, a new Fair Employment Practices Act would prevent discrimination against African-Americans by state and federal governments, employers, employment agencies, and trade unions. For more, please refer to the links below.


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