MARCH ON WASHINGTON Often billed as the largest single protest demonstration in American history, the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" took place on August 28, 1963. Over 200,000 Americans, black and white, gathered at the Washington Monument and proceeded to "march" in an orderly fashion to the Lincoln Memorial, where a number of prominent Americans, including Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins and Walter Reuther, delivered addresses.
Meticulously organized and directed by A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and a host of other civil rights leaders, the "March on Washington" was primarily designed to dramatize the scope of black discontent to the nation at large. It was also an attempt to display the concurrent willingness (evidenced by the orderly and disciplined behavior of the freedom marchers themselves) of civil rights groups to operate within the general framework of nonviolent protest. See also: MARTIN LUTHER KING.