The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, also known as simply the March on Washington or The Great March on Washington was held in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. The purpose of the march was to advocate for the civil and economic rights of African Americans. At the march, final speaker Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech in which he called for an end to racism.
The march was organized by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, who built an alliance of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations that came together under the banner of “jobs and freedom.”Estimates of the number of participants varied from 200,000 to 300,000, but the most widely cited estimate is 250,000 people. Observers estimated that 75–80% of the marchers were black. The march was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history. Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, was the most integral and highest-ranking white organizer of the march.
The march is credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It preceded the Selma Voting Rights Movement, when national media coverage contributed to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that same year.
50 Years. March on Washington Anniversary
Dr. Williams, Dick Gregory and the National Congress of Black Women led thousands of NCBW members to the Lincoln Memorial and Washington DC Monument to voice their support for the Anniversary and DC Statehood.
Dr. Williams gave on the spot interviews to national, local and international news media, revisiting history and delivering a much-needed progress report on Women’s Rights, Clarifications on Black Women and their contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and work needed for equality. Williams, a lifelong women’s advocate, discussed the exclusion of prominent Black women who were excluded from speaking, including: Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Rosa Parks, and Gloria Richardson (to name a few). She discussed current matters such as the BP Oil Spill, DC Statehood, Advocacy and the impact and importance of longtime activism.
Dr. Williams attended the 50th Anniversary celebration at the White House where President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama gave remarks.