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AFL-CIO Now

Throwback Thursday: 250,000 March for Jobs and Freedom

Fifty-one years ago today, 250,000 people joined the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., AFL-CIO Vice President A. Philip Randolph, labor and civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, UAW President Walter Reuther and countless Americans marched for equality, jobs and freedom. That march became a pinnacle of the civil rights movement, symbolizing hope and the power of united action.

The moment from this watershed event for equality and justice that most Americans remember or have learned about is Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech. But he also spoke powerfully about the dignity of work:

So often we overlook the worth and significance of those who are not in professional jobs. Of those who are not in the so-called 'big jobs.' But let me say to you tonight, that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.

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