As the first ceremony of such magnitude ever initiated and dominated by African Americans, the march also was the first to have its nature wholly misperceived in advance. They wanted to focus on joblessness and to call for a public works program that would employ blacks. By August 2, they had distributed 42, of the buttons. Kennedy invited African-American novelist James Baldwin , along with a large group of cultural leaders, to a meeting in New York to discuss race relations. The civil rights activists insisted on holding the march. Leaders from CORE and SNCC, who wanted to conduct direct actions against the Department of Justice, endorsed the protest before they were informed that civil disobedience would not be allowed. A total of 5, police officers were on duty.
On Meet the Press , reporters grilled Roy Wilkins and Martin Luther King about widespread foreboding that "it would be impossible to bring more than , militant Negroes into Washington without incidents and possibly rioting. There was no precedent. Leaders from CORE and SNCC, who wanted to conduct direct actions against the Department of Justice, endorsed the protest before they were informed that civil disobedience would not be allowed. King and Young agreed. The six of us, plus the four. The Pentagon readied 19, troops in the suburbs. Most non-participating workers stayed home. They also experienced discrimination from businesses and governments, and in some places were prevented from voting through intimidation and violence. Sullivan produced a lengthy report on August 23 suggesting that Communists had failed to appreciably infiltrate the civil rights movement, FBI Director J. Finalized plans for the March were announced in a press conference on July 2. An old man commented on the hour ride, which was bound to be less than comfortable: Dominant expectations ran from paternal apprehension to dread. The demonstrators, of all ages, carried picnic baskets, water jugs, Bibles and a major weapon - their willingness to march, sing and pray in protest against discrimination. Every now and then, people on the bus sang 'Oh Freedom' and 'We Shall Overcome,' but for the most part there wasn't a whole bunch of singing. Marchers from Boston traveled overnight and arrived in Washington at 7am after an eight-hour trip, but others took much longer bus rides from places like Milwaukee, Little Rock, and St. Background[ edit ] Bayard Rustin left and Cleveland Robinson right , organizers of the March, on August 7, Although African Americans had been legally freed from slavery , elevated to the status of citizens and the men given full voting rights at the end of the American Civil War , many continued to face social, economic, and political repression over the years and into the s. Why, when I was out there at the march a white man stepped on my foot, and he said, "Excuse me," and I said "Certainly! The police, now part of a moderate city power structure, directed traffic around the square and did not interfere with the gathering We were secretly praying that nothing violent happened. Some, including Rustin who assembled 4, volunteer marshals from New York , were concerned that it might turn violent, which could undermine pending legislation and damage the international image of the movement. Some called for a complete shutdown of the city through civil disobedience. He was an AME preacher. Roosevelt issued Executive Order on June Many whites and blacks also came together in the urgency for change in the nation. In June , leaders from several different organizations formed the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership , an umbrella group which would coordinate funds and messaging.
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