How Did The March On Washington Influence The Ethos Of The Civil Rights Movement

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What does freedom mean for the Negro chained by practices of Jim Crow, but inspired by the promise of equality in the Civil Rights Act (1964)? Why did the March on Washington have a profound effect in shaping the trajectory of the Civil Rights Movement and propelling the movement on the national stage? How did “We Shall Overcome” shape the ethos of the Civil Rights Movement in 1963? Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech and Mr. Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time novel, both written in 1963, offer insight into two distinct visions for the African-American community during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Simply put, both Mr. James Baldwin and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recount the brutal, yet unforgiving history of racial degradation and legal …show more content…

Baldwin’s disheartening, yet hauntingly beautiful letter to his nephew, James, captures a painful story of love and lost for Black America. Furthermore, James Baldwin’s letter expresses his candid disenchantment with the illusion of racial equality. In The My Dungeon Shook chapter, Baldwin poignantly writes to his nephew “please try to be clear, dear James, through the storm which rages about your youthful head today, about the reality which lies behind the words acceptance and integration. There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them" (Baldwin 1963). In Baldwin’s view, the promise of freedom for the Black man amounts to a distant reality. Integration might be codified into law, but the lived experience of white and Black Americans (race-relations) will not change. According to Baldwin, "the black man has functioned in the white man's world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar, and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their

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