Planning the March
Organizing the March
The task of organizing the march was given to Bayard Rustin. He quickly established an office in Harlem and pulled together a group of the most trustworthy and dedicated staff he could find. Organizing the march involved thousands of details: arranging transportation, fundraising, contracting a sound system, printing leaflets and brochures, ordering toilets, and soothing egos. Organizers fanned out across the country to enlist the aid of community groups. As many as 1,500 churches, unions, and local organizations recruited marchers, raised money, and sent delegations to Washington.
Calling for Women on the Podium
Anna Arnold Hedgeman, a veteran civil rights activist, was the only woman on the administrative committee of the march. Along with Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women, Hedgeman strongly urged that the march include a woman as speaker on the program. Their efforts were largely dismissed and the roles of women on the podium were principally ceremonial and as entertainers. Nonetheless, the contributions of thousands of women in all aspects of organizing helped make the march possible.