THE NATION 1963: Civil Rights, The March's Meaning

CIVIL RIGHTS The March's Meaning

The march on Washington was a triumph. But after everybody agreed on that, the question was: Why?

Hardly in terms of immediate results, since there were none. The battle cry of the march was "Now!" Seas of placards demanded Negro equality—Now! Speakers demanded action—Now! Cried John Lewis, 25, leader of the militant young Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNICK): "We want our freedom—and we want it NOW!"

But Now! remained a long way off. It would not come today, tomorrow, next month or next year. This was made starkly clear as the leaders of civil rights organizations paid...

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