Leaders Of March Still Have Not Attained Goal
WASHINGTON (AP)- The historic civil rights march on Washington- massive and
orderly and moving- has dramatized the wants of Negroes in America, but leaders
still faced the task today of trying to turn drama into action.
Speaker after speaker told the 200,000 Negro and white sympathizers massed
in front of the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday that their demonstration was no more
than a beginning.
"Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be
content," said the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "will have a rude
awakening if the nation returns to business as usual."
The estimate of the size of the audience came from Police Chief Robert V. Murray,
he described it as "the largest crowd of participants in any Washington
event" in his memory, and possibly the greatest number taking active part
in an event in the capital's history.
Demonstrators and their leaders made it clear that one sign of progress in
their view, would be congressional approval of President Kennedy's civil rights
bill. But there was no evidence that the demonstration would move the Congress
into any faster consideration of the bill.
Kennedy, like the civil rights leaders, also talked in terms of a beginning.
He met with King and the other civil rights leaders after the demonstration
and said, "We have a long way yet to travel."
But the President also said "the cause of 20 million Negroes has been
advanced by the program so appropriately before the nation's shrine to the Great
Kennedy, in his statement, spoke of the demonstration's "quiet dignity,"
and this was the element of the day that probably most impressed the city of
Police had three minor arrests- none of a demonstrator. Red Cross workers reported
what they expected for a crowd so large: a share of headaches, faintings, broken
bones and insect bites. Demonstrators, tired and quiet, headed home in their
special buses and trains.
By 9 p.m. Washington police reported the city normal, and relieved almost all
special police details from duty.
At the height of the ceremonies, the crowds massed far east along the lengthy
pool that reflects the Washington Monument and far north almost to the State
Department and far south near the parkways by the Potomac River.
After the demonstration, A. Philip Randolph, 74, Negro director of the march
and president of the AFL-CIO Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters said: "The
march has already achieved its objective. It has awakened and aroused the conscience
of the nation."
There was some conflict not visible to the crowds at the Lincoln Memorial.
A demonstration leader, John Lewis, told a newsman later that he was forced
to rewrite his speech because the Most Rev. Patrick A. O' Boyle, Roman Catholic
archbishop of Washington, had objected to it.
Lewis, 23, A Negro, is chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee,
one of the youngest and most militant of the civil rights organizations.
Lewis said Archbishop O' Boyle, who delivered the invocation, had told march
leaders he would not appear on the same platform with Lewis if his prepared
speech was delivered as written. Lewis said the prelate considered the speech
Lewis said a meeting was called of the civil rights leaders, and he was forced
to give in. When he gave his speech, he left out such comments as:
"We cannot depend on any political party, for both the Democrats and the
Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence."
But the crowds did not know this, and they cheered and applauded the words
of Lewis. But they reserved their greatest applause for King, the chairman of
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
One supporter shouted out "the next president of the United States"
as King began to speak.
The Negro leader, 34, drew loud cheers when he pointed to the 20,000 or so
white sympathizers in the crowd and said, "Many of our white brothers have
come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom
is inextricably bound to our freedom."
One of the aims of the demonstrators was to convince Congress to pass President
Kennedy's civil rights bill soon. When several sympathetic congressmen were
introduced, demonstrators chanted at them: "Pass the bill. Pass the bill.
Pass the bill."
But there was no evidence that Congress would respond quickly to this demand.
Although some legislators like Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey, D-Minn., said the demonstration
would help pass the bill, others said it would not affect passage one way or
And the House Judiciary Committee, with so many members taking off for their
Labor Day weekend, decided to postpone consideration of the bill until Sept.