If We Knew Our History - Zinn Education Project Monthly Column
Presented by the Zinn Education Project
A Collaboration between Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change

Bill Fletcher Claiming and Teaching the 1963 March on Washington 
By Bill Fletcher Jr.
Author of 'They're Bankrupting Us!' And 20 Other Myths about Unions

March on Washington marchers On this 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, it is barely remembered that the March on Washington was for freedom and jobs.
In fact, The Americans, a high school history text by publishing giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, tells students that the march was called simply "to persuade Congress to pass the [1963 civil rights] bill." In reality, the demand for jobs was not a throwaway line designed to get trade union support. Instead it reflected the growing economic crisis affecting black workers.

We can all do justice to this anniversary by asking the right questions and providing the actual historical context in which the 1963 March unfolded. More so, we can also offer, as Rustin asked the marchers in 1963, our "personal commitment to the struggle for jobs and freedom for Americans. . .and the achievement of social peace through social justice. How do you pledge?"
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