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Video: The True Story Behind John Lewis' Historic Speech At 1963 March On Washington

Reprinted with permission from Moyers and Company

As the head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, John Lewis drafted a fiery speech to present to the crowds gathered at the March on Washington. But the night before the storied march, the speech was mistakenly leaked to the press, and as word of its contents began to spread, Lewis was summoned to a meeting with the march's leaders and urged to tone down certain elements. Out of respect for leaders like A. Philip Randolph and Dr. Martin Luther King, Lewis edited his harsh criticism of the Kennedy administration's civil rights bill, which he'd originally called "too little and too late," and changed his call for a march "through the heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did" to a march "with the spirit of love and with the spirit of dignity that we have shown here today."

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