National Urban League Director Whitney Young Speaks at the March

Our next speaker is the brilliant executive director of the National Urban League Whitney M. Young, Jr. One of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
Brother Randolph. Fellow Americans. The National Urban League is honored to be a participant in this historic occasion. Our presence here not only reflects the civil rights communities, increased respect for and awareness of the Urban League’s role, but most important it says, and I hope loud and clear, that while intelligence, maturity and strategy dictate that as civil right’s agencies use different methods, we are all united as never before on the goal of first class citizenship for all Americans now.
That we meet here today in common cause, not as white people nor as black people, nor as members of any particular group is a tribute to those Americans who dared to live up and practice our democratic ideals and our religious heritage. That we meet here today is a tribute also to all black Americans, who for 100 years have continued in peaceful and orderly protest to bear witness to our deep faith in America. In this method of protest, to affect change. That we meet here at all however, is to the shame of some who have always blocked the progress of the brown American.
And it is also to the shame of those who would make deals, water down civil rights legislation, or take cowardly refuge in technical details around elementary human rights. They would even now delay until after Christmas the consideration of these bills before Congress. One should not seek here to atone for his past failures as a responsible citizen of the majority group. The evils of the past and the guilt about it cannot be erased by a one-day pilgrimage, however magnificent. Nor can this pilgrimage substitute for an obligation to tomorrow by these same citizens.
And so this march must go beyond this historic moment. For the true test of the rededication and the commitment which should flow from this meeting will be in recognition that however impressed or however incensed our Congressional representatives are by this demonstration, they will not act because of it alone. We must support the strong. We must give courage to the timid. We must remind the indifferent, and we must warn the opposed. Civil rights, which are God given and constitutionally guaranteed, are not negotiable in 1963.
Furthermore, we must work together even more closely back home where the job must be done to see that Negro Americans are accepted as first-class citizens and that they are enabled to do some more marching. They must march from the rat infested, overcrowded ghettos to decent, wholesome, unrestricted, residential areas dispersed throughout our cities. They must march from the relief roles to the established retraining centers. From underemployment as unskilled workers to higher occupations commensurate with our skills.
They 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. They must march from the congested, ill-equipped schools, which breed dropouts and which smother motivation to the well equipped integrated facilities throughout the city. They must march from the play areas and crowded and unsafe streets to the newly open areas in the parks and recreational centers.
And finally, they must march from a present feeling of despair and hopelessness, despair and frustration, to a renewed faith and confidence due to intangible programs and visible changes made possible only by walking together to the PTA meetings, to the libraries, to the decision making bodies, to the schools and the colleges, to the adult education centers for all age groups, to the voter registration booth. The hour is late. The gap is widening. The rumble of the drums of discontent resounding throughout this land are heard in all parts of the world.
The missions which we send there to keep the world safe for democracy are shallow symbols unless with them, goes a living testament that this country practices at home the doctrine which it seeks to promote abroad. How serious our national leaders are will be measured not by words but by the speed and sincerity with which they pass necessary legislation, with which they admit to the tragic injustice that has been done our country, and it’s Negro citizens by historic discrimination and rejection, and until they take intensive remedial steps to correct the damage in order to give true meaning to the words equal opportunities. This is the real significance of our march today, August 28, 1963. Our march is a march for America. It is a march just begun.
The address of Whitney M. Young, Jr., Executive Director of the National Urban League. Once again, Philip Randolph.

Roy Wilkins of the N.A.A.C.P. Addresses the Crowd

Mr. Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Brother Roy Wilkins.
This is probably the greatest audience reaction thus far for Mr. Roy Wilkins of the NAACP.
Thank you. Thank you Mr. Randolph. First of all, I want to thank all of you for coming here today because you saved me from being a liar. I told them you would be here. They didn’t believe me because you always make up your mind at the last minute. And you had me scared. But isn’t it a great day? I want some of you to help me win a bet. I want everyone out here in the open to keep quiet. I want to hear a yell and a thunder from all those people who are out there under the trees. Let’s hear you.
Some are in the trees.
There’s one of them in the tree. I just want to let you know, those of you sitting down front here, that there are a whole lot of people out there under the trees. My friends, we are here today because we want the Congress of the United States to hear from us in person what many of us have been telling our public officials back home. That is, we want freedom now. We came here to petition our law makers to be as brave as our citizens and our marchers. To be as daring as James Meredith.
To be as unafraid as the nine children of Little Rock. To be as forthright as the governor of North Carolina. To be as dedicated as the archbishop of St. Louis. We came to speak here to our Congress, to those men and women who speak here for us in that marbled forum over yonder on the hill.
They know from their vantage point here of the greatness of this whole nation, of it’s reservoirs of strength and of the sicknesses which threaten always to sap its strength and to erode in one or another selfish, stealthy and species fashion the precious liberty of the individual, which is the hallmark of our country among the nations of the earth. We have come asking the enactment of legislation that will affirm the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
And that will place the resources and the honor of the government of all the people behind the pledge of equality and the Declaration of Independence. We want employment. And with it, we want the pride, responsibility and self respect that goes with equal access to jobs. Therefore, we want an FEPC bill as a part of the legislative package. Now for nine years, our parents and their children have been met with either a flat refusal or a token action in school desegregation. Every added year of such treatment is a leg iron upon our men and women of 1980.
The Civil Rights Bill now under consideration in the Congress must give new powers to the justice department to enable it to speed the end of Jim Crow schools, south and north. We are sick of those jokes about public accommodations. We think, for example, that if Mrs. Murphy, rugged individualist that she must be, has taken her chances with the public thus far, she can get along without the solicitous protection of the august Senate of the United States.
It is true of course, that Mrs. Murphy might get a Negro traveler here and there in her boarding house or in her tourist home. But then we must remember this, she might get a white procurer or a white embezzler too. So the Congress must require nondiscriminatory public accommodation. Now, my friends all over this land and especially in parts of the deep south, we are beaten, kicked, maltreated, shot, and killed by local and state law enforcement officers.
It is simply incomprehensible to us here today and to millions of others far from this spot that the United States government, which can regulate the contents of a pill apparently is powerless to prevent the physical abuse of citizens within its own borders. The attorney general must be empowered to act on his own initiative in the denial of any civil right, not just one or two, but any civil right in order to wipe out this shameful situation. Now, the president’s proposals represent so moderate an approach that if it is weakened or eliminated, the remainder will be little more than sugar water. Indeed as it stands today, the package needs strengthening.
And the president should join us in fighting to be sure that we get something more than pap. Finally, we hear talk of protocol, procedures and rules, including the Senate filibuster rule. We have a thought on that. We declare that rules are made to enable a Congress to legislate and not to keep it from legislating. And we’re tired of hearing rules cited as a reason why they can’t act. We expect the passage of an effective civil rights bill. We commend those republicans in both houses who are working for it. We salute those democrats in both houses who are working for it.
In fact, we even salute those from the south who want to vote for it but don’t dare to do so. And we say to those people, just give us a little time and one of these days we’ll emancipate you! We’ll get to the place where they can come to a civil rights rally too. If those who support the bill will fight for it as hard and as skillfully as the southern opposition fights against it, victory will be ours. Just by your presence here today, we have spoken loudly and eloquently to our legislatures. When we return home, keep up the speaking by letter, telegram, telephone, and wherever possible by a personal visit.
Remember that this has been a long fight. We were reminded of it by the news of the death yesterday in Africa of Dr. W.E. Du Bois. Regardless of the fact that in his later years, Dr. Du Bois chose another path. It is incontrovertible that at the dawn of the twentieth century, his was the voice that was calling to you to gather here today in this cause. If you want to read something that applies to 1963, go back and get a volume of the Souls of Black Folk by Du Bois published in 1903. Well my friends, you got religion here today. Don’t backslide tomorrow. Remember Luke’s account of the warning that was given to us all. No man, he wrote, having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. Thank you.
As we near the end of this live broadcast for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial, that was Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the NAACP.
We will now listen to another great singer, Ms. Mahalia Jackson. She will sing at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King, "I’ve Been Buked and I’ve Been Scorned." Ms. Mahalia Jackson.
I’ve been buked and I’ve been scorned. I’ve been buked Lord and I’ve been scorned. Oh, I’ve been buked Lord and oh I’ve been scorned. Yes, I’ve been talked about so [incomprehensible] But the one thing I’ve done wrong, but the one thing I’ve done wrong, oh the one thing I’ve done wrong Lord, you know I’ve stayed in the valley Lord too long. You know I’m going to tell my Lord when I get home. You know I’m going to tell my Lord when I get home. Yes, I’m going to tell my, my Lord when I get home. How you’ve been mistreating me so long. You know I’ve been buked. I’ve been scorned. Oh yeah. I’ve been buked Lord and I’ve been scorned, oh Lord. I’ve been talked about so long. Hallelujah my Lord. By me Lord, stand by me. Stand by me Lord, stand by me. Stand by Lord by me. Lord I can’t stand stand this alone. Lord if you lead. Lord if you lead your child, I cannot make it alone.
A tremendous ovation here for Ms. Mahalia Jackson performing before an estimated 175,000 Americans at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The crowd is asking for another selection. Apparently, Ms. Jackson will perform.
How we got over. How did we make it over. You know our soul looked like it wondered how we made it over. Tell me how we got over, Lord, Lord, Lord. We had a mighty hard time coming on over. You know my soul looked like it wondered how did I make it over. Well, soon as I can see Jesus, the man that died for me. The man that bled and suffered, you know he hung on Calvary. And I’ve got to thank him, for how he pardoned me. I’m going to thank God for how he pardoned me.
Thank my God how he kept me. Oh, I’m going to thank him for never left me. I’m going to thank him for holding me. I’m going to thank God for giving me victory. I’ve got joy, everlasting [incomprehensible] I never get tired. You know I’m going to shout. And I’m going to sing glory hallelujah. You know I’m going to thank him, thank him for being for God being so good to me.
The crowd is again asking for more from Mahalia Jackson.

American Jewish Congress President Joachim Prinz on the March

Fellow citizens, I now have the pleasure to present to you for an address Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President American Jewish Congress. Rabbi Prinz.
I wish I could sing. I speak to you as an American Jew. As Americans, we share the profound concern of millions of people about the shame and disgrace of inequality and injustice, which makes a mockery of the great American idea. As Jews, we bring to the great demonstrations in which thousands of us proudly participate a two-fold experience. One of the spirit and one of our history.
In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybody’s neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man’s dignity and integrity. From our Jewish historic experience of three and a half thousand years, we say our ancient history began with slavery and the yearning for freedom. During the Middle Ages, my people lived for a thousand years in the ghettos of Europe.
Our modern history begins with a proclamation of emancipation. It is for these reasons that it is not merely sympathy and compassion for the black people of America that motivates us. It is above all and beyond all such sympathies and emotions a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own painful historic experience. When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned in my life and under those tragic circumstances is that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problems.
The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence. A great people, which had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality and in the face of mass murder. America must not become a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silent, not merely black America, but all of America. It must speak up and act from the president down to the humblest of us.
And not for the sake of the Negro. Not for the sake of a black community. But for the sake of the image, the dream, the idea, and the aspiration of America itself. Our children, yours and mine, in every school across the land, every morning pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republic for which it stands. And then they the children speak fervently and innocently of this land as a land of liberty and justice for all.
The time I believe has come to work together for it is not enough to hope together. It is not enough to pray together. To work together, that this children’s oath pronounced every morning from Maine to California from north to south, that this oath will become a glorious, unshakable, reality in a morally renewed and united America. Thank you.
The president of the American Jewish Congress, Rabbi Joachim Prinz.
Fellow Americans. You ought to carry away with you a memento to indicate that you participated in a great demonstration for your own liberation. Here we have a memento known as we shall overcome by one of the gifted artists of America. I hope you will get one before you leave. Now we have had great cooperation in developing this great movement. Some names you must remember. One is Cleveland Robinson, Secretary Treasurer of District 65, RSDU, AFL-CIO, and also a Vice President of a Negro American Labor Council.
He is the chairman of the Administration Committee that handled and controlled the affairs of the march. Another name is Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director and a gifted young man. He has marvelous capacity for the organization of men. He and Cleveland Robinson did the real Jimmy-Higgins work in making this movement move. He was assisted by a fine group of men. John Marcell, Assistant to Roy Wilkins of the NAACP.
He gave brilliant support and Gloster Current, organization Director of NAACP. And Frank Montero, L. Joseph Overton, one of the Vice Presidents of the Negro American Labor Council. And Theodore E. Brown, one of the trade unionists who did effective organization work in the movement. And then there is Dr. Kilgore.
Dr. Kilgore has been a tower of strength in building the movement. I wanted you to know something about these names. They had about 200 to 300 volunteers who worked zealously and religiously day and night to make this movement a success. I’m happy to tell you about this. And later on Mr. Rustin will read you the demands of our movement. At this time, I have the honor to present to you the moral leader of our nation, a great dedicated man.