August 28, 2023, marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It is often forgotten that Dr. King’s dream was not only to have legal civil rights for African Americans but also economic justice for all poor, marginalized groups in the United States.
One of the demands of that march was for “[a] massive federal program to train and place all unemployed workers — Negro and white — on meaningful and dignified jobs at decent wages.”
As the historian Michael K. Honey states, in the last year of King’s life:
He sought an Economic Bill of Rights for Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and poorer whites, as well as for blacks. He sought to create a nonviolent army of poor people in jobless inner cities and barrios and in reservation and rural areas. He challenged the country to create an economy of full employment.
Six decades have passed since that historic convening, and chronic joblessness remains as much a problem today as it was then. Even as the national economy booms, pockets of high joblessness persist all across America. Additionally, many of our nation’s civil rights victories are under threat or are being overturned. Now is the time to renew and rejuvenate our commitment to jobs and freedom.
The Full Employment for All coalition,coordinated by Algernon Austin of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, organized four panel discussions on jobs and freedom throughout August. The archived videos from each panel discussion are posted below, and highly worth viewing, if you have not had a chance to see these.
- The Forgotten History of the March for Jobs and Freedom
- The Continuing Struggle for Jobs
- The Continuing Struggle for Freedom
- Evaluating Our Progress on Jobs and Freedom and Needed Next Steps
Thanks very much to the coalition and CEPR for organizing these critically important panel discussions!