The March on Washington
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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 6 to 8
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||backer, Blowin, unemployment, Sit-ins, economic, coalition, converge, wage, groundwork, union, presented, military, plight, civil, porters, strains
||Philip Randolph, United States, World War II, President Franklin D., President Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Urban League, National Association, Colored People
The March on Washington
By Jane Runyon
1 The groundwork for the 1963 march on Washington, D.C., was laid much earlier. As a matter of fact, the first plans for such a march were made in 1941. A man named A. Philip Randolph was the president of a union for railroad porters. At one time, railroads were the major transportation systems in the United States. Porters were the people who handled luggage, checked tickets, and took care of the needs of passengers on these trains. Mr. Randolph worried about job security for these porters during and after World War II. He decided to put some pressure on President Franklin D. Roosevelt by calling for a march of workers on the capital of the nation. President Roosevelt signed an order protecting the jobs of black workers before the march could take place.
2 In 1962, it was becoming obvious to black leaders that their fight for equal rights was not moving at the pace they wanted to see. Sit-ins, demonstrations, and speeches were bringing attention to their cause. Some states were still not changing. Black leaders wanted their rights as citizens to be equalized. They felt that this would bring economic relief to many of the poor. A. Philip Randolph again suggested a march. In this way the plight of the people would be brought to the attention of the nation.
3 The idea was to have a three-day event. A massive group of people would be brought to Washington to lobby and rally for the cause. They would form a coalition from the many different groups who were interested in the rights of Americans. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He and leaders of the Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) decided to join together in an attempt to persuade Congress and the president to pass a strong civil rights bill.
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