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  • Tags: March on Washington

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Mr. _________, ________, ________, ladies and gentlemen:<br />
The March on Washington, this year, was one of the first times in history that America has shown that all faiths, all races, labour, government workers and Americans of all professions and convictions could and would unite [typo] to carry forth a cause that they believe in.  Before this, we have only seen such a show of strength and unity in times of war; but now, Americans are uniting in times of peace.  Americans are demonstrating that they believe in democracy, that it is not a word to be used for propaganda, or something to fight for when our lives are threatened, but that [typo] democracy [typo] will be the American way of life.<br />
The Fellowship Commission, and groups like it, who have paved the way for [typo] last years March are now entering a new era.  As some people have pointed out, the Supreme Court decision did not integrate the schools, but freed the civil rights groups to [typo] begin integrating the schools.  And so, if the Civil Rights Bill is passed, we will be free to begin integration on a nation-wide basis.<br />
	This is the beginning of the third decade after [typo]the original March on Washington; the second half-century of American Labour and the second century after the Emancipation Proclamation.  In the first half of this century there were many marches proposed and carried out, to bring the unemployed to Washington, to bring our [typo] plight to the Federal Government.  Most of these have been forgotten, except by the few who participated in them.
Text of speech written by Sheila Michaels for John Lewis to deliver to the Fellowship Commission in 1964.

AUGUST 28, 1963 <br />
nothing <br />
We march today for jobs and freedom, but we have/to be proud	For, ; hundreds and thousands of our brothers are not here.  They have no money for their transportation, for they are receiving starvation wages ••• or no ·wages at all.  While we stand here there are sharecroppers in the Delta of Mississippi who are out in the fields working for less than three dollars a day for twelve hours of work.  While we stand here there are students in jail on trumped charges.  Our brother, James Farmer, along with many others is also in jail.  We come here today with a great sense of misgiving.<br />
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It is true that we support the present civil rights bill in the Congress. However, we support it with great reservations.	Unless Title three is put in this bill, there is nothing to protect young children and old women from police dogs and fire hoses, their penalty for engaging in peaceful demonstrations. In its present form this bill will not protect the citizens of Danville, Virginia, who must live in constant fear in a police state. It will not protect the hundreds of people who have been arrested on phoney charges.	What about the three young men---SNCC field secretaries--in Americus, Georgia who face the death penalty for engaging in peaceful protest. <br />
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As it stands now, the voting section of this bill will not help thousands of black people who want to vote.  It will not help the citizens of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia who are qualified to vote but lack a 6th grade education. "One man, one vote.,” is the African cry.  It is ours, too.	It must be ours. Let us tell the Congress:  One man, one vote. <br />
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We must have legislation that will protect the Mississippi sharecropper who is put off of his farm because he dares to register to vote.  We need a bill that will provide for the homeless and starving people of this nation. We need a bill that will ensure the equality of a maid who earns $5 a week in the home of a family whose income is $100,000 a year.  We must have a good FEPC bill. <br />
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Let us not forget that we are involved in a serious social revolution.	By¬ <br />
and large, American politics is dominated by politicians who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic, and social exploitation.  There are exceptions of course.  We salute those.  But what political leader can stand up and say, “My party is the party of principles".	  The party of Kennedy is the party of Eastland.  The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater.  Where is our party?	  Where is the political party that will make it unecessary to have Marches on Washinton? <br />
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Where is the political party that will protect the citizens of Albany, Georgia.  <br />
Do you know that in Albany, Georgia., nine of our leaders have been indicted, not by Dixicrats, but by the Federal Government for peaceful protest.  But what did the Federal Government do when Albany's Deputy Sheriff beat Attorney C.B. King and left him half-dead?  What did the Federal Government do when local police officials kicked and assaulted the pregnant wife of Slater King, and she lost her child. <br />
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To those who have said, be patient and wait, we must say that we cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually. We want our freedom and we want it now.  We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We do not
Text of speech given by John Lewis at March on Washington, August 28, 1963. This is a draft with subtle differences from the official speech given to leave out some aggressive wording.

JL Front.jpg
Draft of John Lewis Speech with edits by Sheila Michaels. Title says "March on Washington 1963", but the speech was written after the assassination of President Kennedy.
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