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The Results of the March

A Meeting With the President

Right after the March, due to prior arrangements, the Top Ten (Roy Wilkins, Walter Reuter, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, A. Philip Randolph, Joaschim Prinz, John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney young, and Matthew Ahmann) met to discuss their future. They had many things to discuss, and a very short time slot.

Randolph asked the President to add to the Bill a section on discrimination in employment. He felt that there was an immediate danger amongst jobless young blacks. He told Kennedy, "I may suggest to you that they present an almost alarming problem because they have no faith in anybody white. They have no faith in government. In other words, they believe the hand of society is against them."

Walter Reuter wanted to have lawsuits against anyone who denied anyone their civil rights. The attorney general, Robert Kennedy, told him that he couldn't make any promises.

Eventually, after some more discussion, the meeting had closed. Everyone, especially the speakers, were extremely tired and fatigued. They had just finished one of the most important days of the entire civil rights movement.

Immediately after the March, the press had a field day with the event. Constantly breaking company policies, many blacks broke the color barrier by being featured on the front page of certain newspapers. Martin Luther King finally became known with his famous speech, and the whole world read about it.

(SNCL leaders celebrating after the March)

A Turn of Events

Eventually the President allowed the situation to play out, and gave the Negroes their space. Unfortunately for Kennedy, not everyone liked Kennedy for his support towards blacks, and wanted to rebel. This may have lead to the assassination of J.F.K., but opened the door to the future.

On July 2, 1964, President Johnson passed the most extensive civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction period. Called the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it incorporated many of the measures that the Top Ten had pushed for at and after the March on Washington. It included an important ban of federal funds towards programs that discriminated against blacks.

Also, part of this Act were provisions to help guarantee blacks suffrage. Almost as expected, most Southerner's didn't comply. King lead several marches for voting rights, which lead to more violence. As a response to this, President Johnson introduced, and Congress passed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had been passed, the new focus was on the Southern courts. They allowed blacks the right to vote, and elect blacks to office.

Now that the South was settled for the time being, King concerned himself with the North. Although the mood towards black freedom seemed to turn more to violence, he worked furiously to keep peace within the much neglected half of the country. He criticized President Johnson's policies in Vietnam, due to the violence being encouraged and the bad distribution of American soldiers, since most were poor and black.

While planning a march for blacks in Memphis, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated. Only two months later, Senator Robert Kennedy, was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan.

1973 was a big year for looking back at the March, since it was a ten year anniversary. At the time blacks the optimism was still there, but it was deeply scarred by the all of the deaths, and violence that lead from such an event. They felt that there was some progress in the growth of the voting rights, and the political standpoint. The problem was, there were no more major events that lead to an increase in the hope.

By 1987, most of the major players of the March had died, including A. Philip Randolph, and Bayard Rustin. Rustin's hope of larger, more monumental marches on Washington D.C., would never happen.

Although Rustin's dream didn't come true, the Civil Rights Act would still be passed. The aura surrounding the civil rights had lightened. The tension had ceased, and the fight was nearly over. Blacks were finally voting, and were voting in black mayors, black police chiefs, and black school board meetings. Former member of the SNCC, John Lewis, was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1981 and then to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986. L. Douglas Wilder became the first black governor (since the Reconstruction period) when he won the 1990 Virginia election.

Since August 28, 1963, black income has gradually raised. More and more blacks are gaining recognition in this integrated world. Prejudice still roams the streets, and it may never go away. Black civil rights leaders still have a long way to go, but no one will ever forget the March on Washington, and it's "Dream".