Blank Rome’s Black History Month D.C. Easel Project—and a Surprising Connection between the Defense Industry and the 1963 March on Washington
In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to highlight one of the most impactful traditions in our Washington, D.C., office: the Black History Month D.C. Easel Project, in which Blank Rome attorneys, staff, and clients work together to create easels depicting notable historic events and figures from D.C.’s rich African American history. Thanks to the leadership and innovation of our partner Saminaz Akhter, the Easel Project has deepened our awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions Black people have made in our Nation’s Capital (you can learn more about the program in this video).
The theme for last year’s easels was civil demonstrations and protests, including the 1919 Red Summer riot, the 1939 Marian Anderson concert at the Lincoln Memorial, the 1958/59 Youth March for Integrated Schools, the 2020 George Floyd protests, and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Our research on the origins of the 1963 March on Washington revealed a surprising connection to the defense industry that we wanted to spotlight for our “Sustained Action” readership.
The seeds for the March on Washington were sown decades earlier, when A. Phillip Randolph (head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and an early leader of the civil rights movement) proposed a mass march on Washington, D.C., to highlight segregation and discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces and the defense industry.
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