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The March on Washington 50 Years Later: Assessing the Dream

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March on Washington

August 28, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. While the march is best known for Martin Luther King Jr.’s rousing call for racial equality, its demands extended beyond civil rights and voting.

The 250,000 Americans who assembled around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool demanded the rights to get and keep a job, live in a decent home, obtain quality healthcare and education, and escape from poverty.

Throughout the month, Urban Institute researchers will be assessing how the nation has addressed these issues over the last 50 years, how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go.


Research related to the March on Washington

Race in America
"One hundred years later, the life of the colored American is still sadly crippled by the manacle of segregation and the chains of discrimination."
--Martin Luther King Jr.

Housing and Neighborhoods
"[Negro Americans] must march from the rat-infested, overcrowded ghettos to decent, wholesome, unrestricted, residential areas dispersed throughout our cities…. They must march from the play areas and crowded and unsafe streets to the newly open areas in the parks and recreational centers."
--Whitney Young

"[Negro Americans] must march from the cemeteries where our young and our newborns die three times sooner and our parents die seven years earlier. They must march from there to established health and welfare centers."
--Whitney Young

"We want integrated public schools, but that means we also want federal aid to education, all forms of education."
--A. Philip Randolph

Employment and Workforce Preparation
"And the job question is crucial, because we will not solve education or housing or public accommodations as long as millions of Americans, Negroes, are treated as second-class economic citizens and denied jobs."
--Walter Reuther

"One hundred years later, the colored American lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity."
--Martin Luther King, Jr.




Martin Luther King’s campaign for the poor

by Margaret Simms

Let's stay focused on the racial gaps that persist 50 years after the March on Washington

by Margery Turner

"Worst Case Housing": Let's not forget the physical housing conditions story

by Carlos Martin

Separate but equal 50 years after the March on Washington

by Reed Jordan

Segregation, mobility, and access fifty years after the March on Washington

by Zach McDade

Housing Discrimination: How Far Have We Come Since the March on Washington?

by Margery Turner

Despite fifty years of improvements in infant mortality, large black-white gap remains unchanged

by Laudan Aron

Where do African American students go to college?

by Sandy Baum

It's still about jobs fifty years after the March on Washington

by Margaret Simms

Movin' on up? The income mobility of black and white children from the 1960s

by Julia Isaacs

Black-white higher education gap larger today than 50 years ago

by Austin Nichols

Public housing and the legacy of segregation

by Susan Popkin

What are the most promising ways to train and employ "starvation"-wage Americans?

by Lauren Eyster

Does your local government look like you?

by Zach McDade

Marching from Neighborhoods of Distress to Neighborhoods of Opportunity

by Margery Turner

The racial wealth gap was wide in 1963 and it remains large today

by Signe-Mary McKernan and Caroline Ratcliffe

The March on Washington and the work of the Urban Institute

by Margery Austin Turner and Matthew Rogers

Related Policy Centers and Programs

Income & Benefits Policy Center

Metropolitan Housing & Communities Policy Center

Center on Labor, Human Services & Population

Low-Income Working Families

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