On Saturday, August 24th, the nation will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march held in the nation’s capital. Led by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. the 1963 crowd at the march was estimated at 250,000.
The march has been called “The March for Jobs and Freedom” by some and “The Great March on Washington” by others. It was there that Reverend King, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered perhaps his most famous speech.The words touched millions with its calls for a fairer America.
Two days before the gathering, members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives filed resolutions supporting the march and calling on Congress to pass major civil rights legislation filed by President Kennedy. Their efforts epitomized the state’s tradition of leadership in the movement for equality in this country. House document no. 3682 from 1963 contains the resolution and is located in the State Library:
Reverend King spoke at the Massachusetts State House on April 22, 1965 in front of a joint session of the Massachusetts General Court. You can view his eloquent speech here.
Visit the Library in Room 341 of the State House to view books and other materials about the civil rights movement. We welcome visitors. Our hours are Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5PM.
Pamela W. Schofield
State Library of Massachusetts