Published On: Aug 27 2013 12:05:56 PM EDTUpdated On: Jan 19 2015 03:00:00 AM EST
As the nation celebrates Black History Month, here are 10 things you may not know about the historic March on Washington, where MLK delivered his "I have a Dream" speech.
The event was officially titled the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom."
An estimated 200,000 to 250,000 Americans, mostly African-Americans but also including thousands of whites, held the march to focus attention on blacks' demands for immediate equality in jobs and civil rights.
The march was organized by the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement: A. Philip Randolph, Whitney M. Young, Jr., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Farmer, Roy Wilkins, and John Lewis. Bayard Rustin was chief organizer of the march.
The marchers were entertained by celebrities, including Ossie Davis, Joan Baez, Bobby Darin, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary and Jackie Robinson.
Marchers were not supposed to create their own signs, though this rule was not completely enforced by marshals. Most of the demonstrators did carry pre-made signs, available in piles at the Washington Monument.
King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
Law enforcement included 5,000 police, National Guardsmen and Army reservists.
No marchers were arrested and no incidents concerning marchers were reported.
Ten leaders of the civil rights march met with President John F. Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Labor Secretary W. Willard Wirtz and Burke Marshall, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, at the White House during the demonstration.
The march is widely credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).