March on Washington

February 01, 2010

On August 28, 1963, the civil rights movement reached its height of attention and impact with a huge March in Washington, D.C. The March on Washington attracted more than 200,000 marchers to the Lincoln Memorial. At the march, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. In it, he said: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Those words remain famous to this day.

After the march, King and other civil rights leaders met with President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House. In 1964, following the assassination of President Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. The law guaranteed equal rights for black Americans in employment, voting, and the use of public facilities. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act ended racist laws that required black voters to pay a special tax or take a reading test before voting. The new law increased black voter registration throughout the South, especially in Mississippi.

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