The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom has been rightfully memorialized as an iconic moment in American history, particularly as the venue where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his immortal “I Have A Dream” speech. Yet a deeper look at the March on Washington can offer a richer understanding of what made the Civil Rights Movement possible, and what organizers today can emulate in the ongoing struggle for racial and economic justice. Beyond the leading lights of the day such as Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin, and A. Phillip Randolph, there was a multiracial, working-class movement that drew together unions and churches, student organizations, and more. Larry S. Gibson and Marc Steiner, both of whom attended the March on Washington 60 years ago, look back on that day and the lessons to be found in the grooves of a history too often presented as one-dimensional.
Larry S. Gibson is a lawyer, political organizer, and former Associate Deputy Attorney General for President Jimmy Carter.
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