Skip to main content
  • Read Aloud
  • En Espanol

Remembering the March

Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at the March on Washington, in 1963. AFP—GETTY IMAGES

On August 28, 1963, people poured into Washington, D.C. They came for a special event. It was called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It drew about 250,000 people. They wanted the United States government to pass new laws. These laws would give equal rights to all Americans.

That day, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a big speech. It became known as his “I Have a Dream” speech. It’s one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. “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 character PW character ARIEL SKELLEY—GETTY IMAGES the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves (noun) Cheating on the test was not in keeping with her character. ,” King said. His voice soared over the crowd. King spoke for 18 minutes.

Martin Luther King Jr. gives his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963.

BETTMANN/GETTY IMAGES

The March on Washington showed Americans the power of peaceful protest protest PW-Protest FRANCIS MILLER/CONTRIBUTOR—GETTY IMAGES a statement or action that expresses disagreement with something (noun) The March on Washington was a historic protest in Washington, DC. . It also brought about change. The next year, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill into law. It banned discrimination discrimination ARIEL SKELLEY—GETTY IMAGES treating one group differently from another (noun) Discrimination on the basis of race or gender is illegal in the workplace. .

The Life of a Leader

King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929. He became a minister. In Montgomery, Alabama, he preached about equality for all. But in the 1950s, Black people and white people were often separated. They went to different schools. They ate at different restaurants. Many Americans did not want it this way.

BETTMANN/GETTY IMAGES

In 1955, Claudette Colvin protested in Montgomery. She refused to give up her bus seat to a white person. Rosa Parks did the same thing. Both were arrested. But these brave people moved the country forward.

King also risked his safety for change. In 1963, he was arrested at a march in Birmingham, Alabama. This only made him work harder. He joined other civil rights civil rights PW civil rights THOMAS IMO/PHOTOTHEK—GETTY IMAGES rights that every person should have, no matter their gender, race, or religion (noun) Nelson Mandela fought for civil rights in South Africa. leaders. They planned the March on Washington.

The 1963 March on Washington was one of the largest civil rights gatherings in U.S. history.

PAUL SCHUTZER—THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTIONS/GETTY IMAGES

Today, people are still fighting for equal rights. King’s words continue to inspire people around the world.

More from United States