Martin Luther King, Jr. is the most popular civil rights leader in the United States. He was a social activist and a Baptist’s minister who shaped and influenced the American civil rights movements of the mid-1950s. He sought equality for African Americans and economically disadvantaged populations through peaceful protests and resistance. Some of the most eventful movements that King is known for are the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March to Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The March to Washington for Jobs and Freedoms is probably the most notable movement of King ever led. This march in particular propelled him to one of the greatest non-violence resistance leader. The march occurred in August 28, 1963 and was attended by over 250,000 people. People from all races, black and white unanimously and peacefully marched to the Nation’s capital, Washington. This move marked the height for civil rights among all Americans. Strategically, the venue of the march was at the Lincoln Memorial, a place that ironically showed the challenges that African-Americans still experienced almost a century after emancipation from slavery.
A few months earlier, racial tensions in the South had erupted between white segregationists and peaceful demonstrators in Selma. School children were brutally clubbed during the protests. Following these hostilities, President Kennedy finally yielded to the pressures of the demonstrators who demanded equal rights. As a result, in June 1963 he presented a bill that would introduce massive changes on civil rights to the congress. King and his supporters wanted to pressurize the legislators to approve the bill.
Despite the tensions in the city, more than two hundred thousand people gathered in Washington monument, making the largest demonstration in the country. The protesters then proceeded to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In anticipation of possible violence in during the march, the government has put in place officers to create order during the rally. Although the crowd was large, they all remained peaceful through the entire march. There were various performances and speeches from various leaders. King was the last to address the crowd. Initially, King did not intend to give a long speech. He only wanted to give a closing remark, and end the meeting. He began his speech by referencing Abraham Lincolns’ emancipation proclamation that had freed slaves a century ago. Although this speech was relevant, it did not move the crowd as much. Among the people that were seated behind King, was a lady who was constantly urging King to tell the crow of his dream.
Half way through the speech King withdrew his written speech and gave his “I have a dream speech.” This speech in particular excited the entire crowd irrespective of their race. In particular, it highlighted his desire to see people treated equally irrespective of their races. In addition, it showed that despite being segregated and disenfranchised for a very longtime, he and also most of his supporters wanted to build a peaceful and loving country. Inspired by his speech, the crowd was overjoyed, and was almost assured that the legislations tabled by President Kennedy would be passed. Kings speech was the last, and the meeting was dispersed after the speech. To this date, the speech is considered to be one of the factors that led to the establishment of Civil Rights in United States. Accordingly, the rally achieved its goals of pressurizing legislators to approve the tabled bill.