The Unfinished March


An Overview | Algernon Austin

An Introduction | Thomas J. Sugrue

A National Living Wage | Sylvia Allegretto and Steven Pitts

Adequate and Integrated Education | Richard Rothstein

The Right to Vote | Barbara Arnwine

A Federal Jobs Program | William Spriggs


Part I: Were the Goals Achieved?

Decent Housing | Delores Acevedo-Garcia

Public Accommodations | Alton Hornsby

An End to Discrimination in Employment | Algernon Austin

Part II: The New Obstacles to Jobs and Freedom

Reducing the Incarceration Rate | Robynn Cox

Closing the Racial Wealth Gap | Thomas M. Shapiro

Conclusion | Benjamin Todd Jealous


On Monday, July 22, 2013, some of the nation’s foremost thinkers on race and economics were brought together by the Economic Policy Institute to discuss how to achieve these economic goals, including decent housing, adequate and integrated education, jobs for all, and a living wage at a symposium called The Unfinished March.

A full audio/video recording of the event is available on C-SPAN.

Photos by Judy Licht

Press Releases

Hard economic tasks of the march remain a distant dream

Upcoming EPI Symposium on the Unmet Economic Goals of the Civil Rights Movement

EPI Gathers Civil Rights Thought Leaders to Invigorate the Fight for Economic Goals of the March on Washington


On August 28, 1963, more than 250,000 people participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

They marched for equal access to public accommodations, voting rights, and the end of racial discrimination in employment. While achieving the full measure of these rights remains a work-in-progress, legislative and policy commitments to these goals were secured. But the marchers also demanded:

  • decent housing

  • adequate and integrated education

  • jobs for all

  • a minimum wage worth more than $13 an hour today


Fifty years later, on all socioeconomic measures, African Americans still lag whites by wide margins. At the same time, economic opportunities are shrinking for working people of all races. Until we achieve all of the march’s goals, there is little hope for reducing black-white socioeconomic disparities and providing genuine opportunity for economic advancement to all Americans.

In the coming months, this website of the Economic Policy Institute will publish essays outlining what we need to do as a nation to fully achieve each of the goals of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

“We have no future in a society in which 6 million black and white people are unemployed and millions more live in poverty. Nor is the goal of our civil rights revolution merely the passage of civil rights legislation. Yes, we want all public accommodations open to all citizens, but those accommodations will mean little to those who cannot afford to use them. Yes, we want a Fair Employment Practice Act, but what good will it do if profit-geared automation destroys the jobs of millions of workers black and white?” —A. Philip Randolph, 1963, director of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and president of the Negro American Labor Council

March on Washington Film Festival

July 11–July 25, 2013. Washington, D.C.
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington through a series of free film screenings

Fifty years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,  its anniversary celebration will be the occasion for the modern American civil and human rights community to celebrate, organize, reflect, and plan for the future.

The March on Washington Film Festival has been developed to bring together the best documentary and feature films to celebrate and learn from our civil rights history.

Learn more about the festival and this year’s featured films.