Wednesday, August 28

The Great March on Washington

Warren K. Leffler, courtesy of Library of Congress
Two score and 10 years ago, The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 1963. It was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history and called for civil and economic rights for African Americans.

You probably know that Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech while standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

However, what you probably did not know is that women barely had a role. Not only did they march on Independence Avenue while the men marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, but according to CNN:

It was only after pressure from Anna Arnold Hedgeman, the only woman on the national planning committee, that a "Tribute to Negro Women Fighters for Freedom" was added to the official program.

It took further convincing to have a woman lead it.

Daisy Bates spoke in the place of Myrlie Evers, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Bates, president of the Arkansas NAACP who played a key role in integrating schools in Little Rock, told the crowd: "We will walk until we are free, until we can walk to any school and take our children to any school in the United States. And we will sit-on and we will kneel-in and we will lie-in if necessary until every Negro in America can vote. This we pledge to the women of America."

Women had been central to the civil rights movement -- Diane Nash, Ella Baker, Dorothy Height and many others -- but were only included in the program that day after one woman spoke up.

What's that saying?

Oh yes, "Well-behaved women seldom make history."


1 comment:

  1. I did not know this. Thank you very much for sharing.