History of the Civil Rights movement By Cristina Vignone
By the mid-twentieth century, large inequalities in education and employment opportunities for blacks—“in 1960, the national unemployment rate among blacks was 10 percent, twice that of whites” and “the average black worker…earned about half the salary of the average white worker”—proved that civil rights activists still had work to accomplish. In December 1962 A. Philip Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the Negro American Labor Council and vice president of the AFL-CIO, called on the aid of fellow activists Bayard Rustin and A.J. Muste to organize what he would himself proclaim “‘the largest demonstration in this history of this nation.’”
Their goal was to alert the President, Congress and every citizen to the serious injustices that befell black Americans.
At 10:30 on the morning of August 28, 1963, fifty thousand marchers assembled in Washington D.C. in protest, and by noon the group had doubled. Marian Anderson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Mahalia Jackson performed songs, while Randolph, James Farmer, John Lewis, Walter Reuther, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young and Josephine Baker addressed the crowd.
But the most memorable moment was the seventeen-minute long speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. “I Have a Dream” immediately resonated with the crowd of civil rights supporters, but it was also broadcast directly into American homes through television and the radio. King’s speech addressed the major points of the movement:
As columnist James Reston summarized in the New York Times the next day, King and his fellow activists “left no doubt that this was not the climax of their campaign for equality but merely the beginning…” The following video clip of King’s speech captures his dynamic call for racial equality.
 Andrew Edmund Kersten, A. Philip Randolph: A Life in the Vanguard (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), 91-2.
 Jonathan Birnbaum and Clarence Taylor, eds., A. Civil Rights Since 1787: A Reader on the Black Struggle (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 493.
 The activist Floyd McKissick represented James Farmer, as Farmer was in jail in Plaquemine, Louisiana for organizing protests in the state. James Farmer, Lay Bare the Heart: an Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement (Fort Worth, Texas: TCU Press, 1998), 244.
 Birnbaum and Taylor, eds., A. Civil Rights Since 1787: A Reader on the Black Struggle, 494.
 James Reston, “I Have a Dream: Peroration by Dr. King Sums up a Day the Capital Will Remember,” New York Times, August 29, 1963.