|Youth March for Integrated Schools Washington, DC (Oct)|
See The Little Rock Nine for preceding events.
As part of their "Massive Resistance" to school integration, Southern racists label integration a "communist plot." Billboards falsely claiming to show Dr. King at a "Communist Training Camp" are put up across the South. In September, Governor Faubus of Arkansas closes high schools in Little Rock to maintain segregation, and asserts that the only people who support school desegregation are the NAACP and other "Communist-inspired" groups.
To counter this racist propoganda campaign, Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, Dr. King, Daisy Bates, Ralph Bunche, Jackie Robinson, and Roy Wilkins send letters to youth organizations, church groups, and labor organizations calling for a Youth March for Integrated Schools in Washington DC to show that students from across the nation support integrated schools. They hope for 1,000 students. On October 25, more than 10,000 march down Constitution Avenue and rally at the Lincoln Memorial. The march includes delegations from most of the main universities and colleges, church, labor, and civic organizations, and from as far away as California.
Still recovering from a near-fatal stab wound, Dr. King is unable to attend, and his wife Coretta reads his address to the marchers.
An integrated delegation of march participants is designated to meet with President Eisenhower and White House officials to present the march demands and discuss issues of education and school desegregation. Neither the president nor anyone else in the White House is willing to meet with them. The gates are locked against them. After half an hour they leave their written materials with the gate guard to be forwarded to "Ike." No response is ever received.
See Second Youth March for Integrated Schools Washington, DC for continuation.
For more information:
Documents: Documents From the Youth Marches for Integrated Schools
Books: Schools and School Desegregation
Web: School Desegregation
© Bruce Hartford