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Activists descend on Washington, DC, to mark the 60th anniversary of MLK's "I have a dream" speech.

Riley Calanan

The March on Washington, 60 years later

Sixty years ago on Monday, over a quarter of a million people gathered in Washington, DC, for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a century after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream Speech,” galvanizing supporters of the Civil Rights Movement.

The march was initially conceived 20 years prior by labor leader Philip Randolph when African Americans were excluded from the job creation programs under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. By the late 1950s, with the Civil Rights Act stalled in Congress, Dr. King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference were also planning to march on Washington for freedom.

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