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American singer Harry Belafonte addresses the crowds at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, 1963. (Photo by Kurt Severin/Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Political Rally

Widely credited with helping to pass the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act (1965), the March on Washington was one of America's most defining moments of political action by citizens. On Wednesday August 28, 1963, more than a quarter of a million people came to the nation's capital to march, listen to music — Mahalia Jackson, Bob Dylan and Marian Anderson were some of the performers — and hear speeches about civil rights, employment and economic empowerment. Planned by A. Phillip Randolph, the president of the Negro American Labor Council, it also marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. Many best remember the March on Washington as the occasion where Martin Luther King delivered his powerful "I Have a Dream" speech. To honor the 50th anniversary of the March, on Aug. 24, 2013, a march was held in Washington, D.C.