Today is the 50th anniversary of the historic “I have a dream” speech, and Constitution Daily has complied this list of fun, little-known facts about the event.
1. The event was officially titled the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Two months prior, on June 11, President Kennedy had called for more civil rights in a nationally televised speech, and NAACP leader Medgar Evers was assassinated.
2. Though proposed before the speech and assassination, those events were the catalyst for the March.
3. Not all activists supported the March. Malcolm X and Strom Thurmond were two of the most prominent objectors and not all the organizers agreed on the issues.
4. It was not the first civil rights march planned for Washington. In 1941, a march was organized to demand desegregation in the military, but President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, banning “discrimination in the federal government and defense industries.” This halted the planned march, which may have included 100,000 people.
5. The sound system for the event was sabatoged right before it began and people almost did not hear Dr. King’s speech. Luckily, Attorney General Robert Kennedy “enlisted the Army Corps of Engineers to fix the system.”
Check out Constitution Daily for more facts.