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The public failure of the meeting, which came to be known as the Baldwin–Kennedy meeting, underscored the divide between the needs of Black America and the understanding of Washington politicians.

However, the meeting also provoked the Kennedy administration to take action on the civil rights for African-Americans. Kennedy gave his famous civil rights address on national television and radio, announcing that he would begin to push for civil rights legislation—the law which eventually became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Rustin was a long-time associate of both Randolph and Dr. With Randolph concentrating on building the march's political coalition, Rustin built and led the team of two hundred activists and organizers who publicized the march and recruited the marchers, coordinated the buses and trains, provided the marshals, and set up and administered all of the logistic details of a mass march in the nation's capital.

The march was not universally supported among civil rights activists.

At the march, Martin Luther King Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in which he called for an end to racism.

That night, Mississippi activist Medgar Evers was murdered in his own driveway, further escalating national tension around the issue of racial inequality. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin began planning the march in December 1961.

They envisioned two days of protest, including sit-ins and lobbying followed by a mass rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

They also experienced discrimination from businesses and governments, and in some places were prevented from voting through intimidation and violence.

The impetus for a march on Washington developed over a long period of time, and earlier efforts to organize such a demonstration included the March on Washington Movement of the 1940s. Philip Randolph—the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, president of the Negro American Labor Council, Randolph and Rustin continued to organize around the idea of a mass march on Washington.

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