The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights

William P. Jones. Norton, $28.50 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-08285-2
Nearly a quarter-million people gathered on August 28, 1963, for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. University of Wisconsin historian Jones’s account explores the link between “black trade unionists’... struggle for fair employment with the southern struggle for civil rights.” A. Phillip Randolph holds center stage here, from the 1941 March on Washington that didn’t happen (cancelled when Roosevelt created the FEPC) to the 1964 general strike threat (relinquished with Johnson’s Civil Rights Act). In its deviation from conventional civil rights history (the path from Rosa Parks to the March), Jones fleshes out its operational milieu, the “organizational networks” upon which that history rests. In addition to his focus on the labor movement, Jones (The Tribe of Black Ulysses: African American Lumber Workers in the Jim Crow South) attends particularly to the role of black women’s clubs and sororities as they grappled with sexism. While King’s “I Have a Dream” speech has become the audio through which the March is remembered, Jones’s carefully documented, limpid account of the conflicts and compromises that it took to get there, and what remains to be done if the “dream” is to be fulfilled, offers the realities behind the rhetoric. For those who were there, this is an illuminating book; for those who were not, it will be transporting. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 03/25/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-393-34941-2
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-393-24058-0
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