March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, US History
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March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom On August 28, 1963 more than 200,000 people came to Washington D.C. from across the country to highlight the civil rights struggles of African-Americans and to call for a passage of the Civil Rights Act in Congress. The march culminated on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech as he looked out at the crowds surrounding the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Voting Rights in 1963 The Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed African-American men the right to vote in 1870 stating, "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

However half a century later there were still barriers created to restrict or prevent groups of people from voting including African- American, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Alaska Natives and Latinos.

Before 1965 federal laws did not challenge the authority of states and localities to establish and administer their own voting requirements. Around the country various tactics were used to block minority populations from voting.

Literacy Tests and Voter Registration Forms In some states the voter registration system was changed four times within a single year and there could be as many as 100 versions in existence at the same time making it an impossible test to study for.


Questions from a 1960’s literacy test

Poll Tax This tax for voting in federal and state elections often included a grandfather clause. The clause allowed for any adult male whose father or grandfather had voted in specific year prior to the abolition of slavery to vote without paying the tax. As a result the white population in states with a poll tax law did Not have to pay a tax to vote. “Do you know I've never voted in my life, never been able to exercise my right as a citizen because of the poll tax?” -Mr. Trout Atlanta, Georgia. American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Projects, 1936-1940

Threats and Intimidation

Americans that gathered to nonviolently protest these laws were met with physical violence by individuals, groups, and sometimes law enforcement officers.

In some states African-Americans and Latinos were discouraged from even attempting to register to vote through threats of violence, loss of jobs, and home eviction.

Police attack marchers in Selma, Alambama 1965

English Only Ballots Voting ballots were only written in English even in communities with large populations of non-English speaking citizens.

Photograph by myJohn

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