The March on Washington was dubbed another major stepping stone to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1965.
As agreed upon by the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership, the stated purpose of the March on Washington was to encourage:
• Passage of meaningful civil rights legislation
• Immediate elimination of school segregation
• A program of public works, including job training for the unemployed
• A Federal law prohibiting discrimination in public or private hiring
• A $2-an-hour minimum wage nationwide
• Withholding federal funds from programs that tolerate discrimination
• Enforcement of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution by reducing congressional representation from states that disenfranchise citizens
• A broadened Fair Labor Standards Act to currently excluded employment areas
• Authority for the attorney general to institute injunctive suits when constitutional rights are violated
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March. A major celebration will take place to commemorate our nation’s largest gathering in civil rights history. President Barack Obama will give a speech at the “Let Freedom Ring” celebration, along with former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Other speakers include the family of Trayvon Martin, who was slain in February 2012.
The U.S. Postal Service has issued a commemorative stamp to honor the March’s anniversary. The stamp will be unveiled today.
There will be additional events and concerts hosted by the Smithsonian Institute. Most importantly, more than 100,000 people are expected to March at the National Mall to honor one of the greatest days in black history.
The March will also be recognized internationally by bell-ringing in Katmandu, London and Tokyo, at 3 p.m. (local time).