The March on Washington by William P. Jones
Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights

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A broad, less-than-enlightening look at an important historical moment in America that historians have been “too eager to dismiss.”
-Kirkus

Synopsis

“Vivid and moving. . . . [Tells] a story all but lost in most civil rights histories.”—Bill Marvel, Dallas Morning News


It was the final speech of a long day, August 28, 1963, when hundreds of thousands gathered on the Mall for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In a resounding cadence, Martin Luther King Jr. lifted the crowd when he told of his dream that all Americans would join together to realize the founding ideal of equality. The power of the speech created an enduring symbol of the march and the larger civil rights movement. King’s speech still inspires us fifty years later, but its very power has also narrowed our understanding of the march. In this insightful history, William P. Jones restores the march to its full significance.

The opening speech of the day was delivered by the leader of the march, the great trade unionist A. Philip Randolph, who first called for a march on Washington in 1941 to press for equal opportunity in employment and the armed forces. To the crowd that stretched more than a mile before him, Randolph called for an end to segregation and a living wage for every American. Equal access to accommodations and services would mean little to people, white and black, who could not afford them. Randolph’s egalitarian vision of economic and social citizenship is the strong thread running through the full history of the March on Washington Movement. It was a movement of sustained grassroots organizing, linked locally to women’s groups, unions, and churches across the country. Jones’s fresh, compelling history delivers a new understanding of this emblematic event and the broader civil rights movement it propelled.

 

About William P. Jones

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William P. Jones, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is a specialist in civil rights and labor history and contributes to The Nation and other publications. He and his family live in Madison, Wisconsin.
 
Published July 29, 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company. 329 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The March on Washington
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by David J. Garrow on Aug 15 2013

Jones’s most valuable contribution in “The March on Washington” is in detailing the activities of black trade unionists...Anyone who approaches “The March on Washington” anticipating a richly detailed, book-length account of the actual march, however, will be sorely disappointed, for Jones devotes only one chapter out of six to the events of 1963.

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Kirkus

Above average
on Mar 15 2013

A broad, less-than-enlightening look at an important historical moment in America that historians have been “too eager to dismiss.”

Read Full Review of The March on Washington: Jobs... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Karl Wolff on Jul 29 2013

The book will give the reader historical insight into how racial inequality can be confronted and overcome.

Read Full Review of The March on Washington: Jobs... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for The March on Washington
70%

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