50 Years On: 5 Things I Learned About the March on Washington

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elfederAs a kid I read everything there was to read about the Civil Rights Movement—from the Freedom Rides, to sit-ins, to Freedom Summer. I wrote my biggest high school term paper about the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, and the closest thing to a history class I took in college was called simply, “The Sixties.” But it wasn’t until I saw this photo of women at the March on Washington wearing pearls and sunhats under the banner of the Emma Lazarus Foundation that it occurred to me: there were Jews at the March.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the March tomorrow, I would like to share 5 things I have learned about the March on Washington that you may not already know—one for each decade. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to check your assumptions and look more closely at this monumental, game-changing event.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

As the signs in this picture suggest, protesters at the March had different motivations for being there. The March was actually the brainchild of A. Philip Randolph, a labor leader and civil rights activist who was the Vice President of the AFL-CIO. Randolph had originally proposed a March in 1941 to protest the exclusion of black workers in wartime industries but the March was averted when President Roosevelt allowed blacks to work in military factories.

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Posted by on Wednesday, August 28th, 2013. Filed under Jewish Blogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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