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The First March on Washington

A. Philip Randolph called for a March on Washington to force President Roosevelt to abolish Jim Crow in the war effort, and shaped the trajectory of the postwar left.

Appearing before the Senate Government Operations subcommittee in December 1966, A. Philip Randolph (left), warned of “disastrous consequences” if the Vietnam War is to be financed by the “black and white poor,” and Bayard Rustin urged action on a “freedom budget” to guarantee an annual wage for the poor. (Bettmann/Getty Images)

In June 1942, Winfred Lynn received his draft notice. Seven months after Pearl Harbor, as all of US society was turning toward the war effort, this middle-aged black landscape gardener from Long Island decided he wasn’t going. While Lynn declared himself “ready to serve in any unit … which is not segregated by race,” he was […]

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