Last year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington first conceived years earlier by labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph. The meeting between Randolph and then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the issue of diversity resulted in FDR’s response “I agree with everything you have said. Now, make me do it.”

Soon thereafter, Randolph called for what was to be the first Washington, D.C., gathering. His goal was to diversify the armed forces and open the doors of economic opportunity for African-Americans related to the business activities of World War II. In exchange for Randolph’s canceling that planned march, FDR issued Executive Order 8802 to end discrimination in the defense industries and government. Randolph was successful in making FDR do it!

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