Site hosted by Build your free website today!

How the March on Washington Affected the Civil Rights Movement

"The March on Washington took place because the Negro allies... The March was not a Negro action. It was an action Negroes and whites together. Not just the leaders of the Negro organization, but leading Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish spokesmen called the people into the street. And Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, white and black, responded." -Bayan Rustin-

"They say colored people didn't stick together. Well, when they do, they can move mountains. I came from Gadsden, Ala., because I wanted to see a mountain moved." -Anonymous-

After the White House meeting following the March, President Kennedy announced, "We have witnessed today in Washington tens of thousands of Americans- both Negro and white- exercising their right to assemble peaceably and direct the widest attention possible to a great national issue...

One cannot help but be impressed with the deep fervor and the quiet dignity that characterize the thousands who have gathered in the nation's capital from across the country to demonstrate their faith and confidence in our democratic form of government...

The executive branch of the federal government will continue its efforts to obtain increased employment and to eliminate discrimination in employment practices, two of the prime goals of the march...

This nation can afford to achieve the goals of a full employment policy- it cannot afford to permit the potential skills and educational capacities of its citizens to be unrealized.

The cause of twenty million Negroes has been advanced by the program conducted so appropriately before the nation's shrine to the Great Emancipator, but even more significant is the contribution to all mankind.


From The Daily Sketch :

"Their triumph was one of discipline, of good manners and good sense."

Stan Optomowsky, from The New York Post :

Probably the greatest public relations triumph was provided by the marchers themselves. Their dignity, good humor, and pleasant sincerity created an image which the American white can grasp. The white may not identify with the bitter rock-throwers in Birmingham or battered students in Montgomery. But he can understand the plight of a portly 40-year-old Negro with a wife and three children who wants to stay in the best motel he can afford.

United Auto Workers president Walter Reuter said after the March that this "was the beginning of a broad policing of conscience." That this was the aim- to get Americans to do more that tut-tut on the plight of Little Rock school children and to start thinking about the basic rights to which Negroes are entitled as citizens.

Kate Boyle, from Liberation :

It aroused one to gentleness, to forbearance, and at the same time to commitment from which there can be no turning back. I lost two of my children, and my friends, in that enormously gentle and good natured crowd, and I could not get close enough to see the speakers, but their voices, and their presence, filled the church-like hush under the trees. And I knew that if one was American, and believed in the equality of man, on the 28th of August, 1963, there was no other place to be.

Immediately after the March, the Negro leaders met with Kennedy to discuss the bill, and their future. When they first met, the president smiled and said, "I have a dream."

"I think there is a need for a leader... similar to a Martin Luther. But I don't think that we can expect in our lifetime another Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King was a rare breed. They just don't come around that often." -John Lewis- (Ten Years after the March)