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The first March on Washington was planned in 1941

March on Washington 1941

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A. Philip Randolph first planned a March on Washington in 1941 to protest against governmental hiring practices that excluded African-Americans from federal employment and federal contracts. Randolph understood that this type of racial discrimination was the reason for the economic disparities between whites and blacks in this country. Randolph proposed that African-Americans march on Washington to demand jobs and freedom. Because of this, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, which banned discrimination in the federal government and defense industries in June 1941.

 

 

March on Washington 1963

As a result of the groundwork laid 22 years earlier for the 1941 March on Washington, A. Philip Randolph was prepared for the leadership role he held in the 1963 March on Washington. With Bayard Rustin as the main organizer of the march, Randolph was able to unite the many groups and leaders that comprised this national call for masses of people to take action.

On August 28, 1963, 250,000 people attended this monumental march which set a precedent demonstrating the power of unity and action. After the march, Randolph, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Whitney Young, Roy Wilkins, John Lewis and others met with President Kennedy. Within a year, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed. Randolph's leadership influenced many leaders including Dr. King, and Malcolm X.



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