Service & Solidarity Spotlight: Redmond: 60 Years After the March on Washington, Let’s Recommit to the Fight for Justice

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond (second from right) greets union members.

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our Service & Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

On the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond wrote an op-ed for Word in Black:

Sixty years ago this month, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered perhaps his most famous speech to a quarter of a million people….

But what often gets lost in its brilliance is the why. Why were a quarter of a million people gathered on the National Mall in the first place? They were there for civil rights and economic justice, they were there for the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

When Dr. King finished his address, he handed the microphone back to A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin—prominent Black labor leaders and the chief architects of the March—recited a list of the demands the labor, faith, and civil rights movement leaders would deliver to President Kennedy.

They demanded equal access to jobs, public accommodations, and voting rights. They called for full employment and a raise in the federal minimum wage. And Randolph and Rustin led the tremendous crowd in a pledge to persist until every demand had been fulfilled….

But 60 years later, working people have seen so much of that progress stalled, reversed, and in some cases, completely erased.

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