Biden and Harris will meet with King family on 60th anniversary of March on Washington

Crowds gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in black and white photo
A crowd gathers at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, which featured the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, on Aug. 28, 1963.
(Aaron Stanley Tretick / Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture via AP)

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will observe Monday’s 60th anniversary of the March on Washington by meeting with organizers of the 1963 gathering and relatives of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Oval Office meeting will be held six decades after President Kennedy and King met at the White House on the morning of the march on Aug. 28, 1963. All of King’s children have been invited to meet with Biden, White House officials said.

Biden also will speak later Monday at a White House reception commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit legal organization that was established at Kennedy’s request to help advocate for racial justice.


Thousands once again take to the streets of the nation’s capital to call for economic and racial equality.

Aug. 28, 2013

Two White House officials provided details of the Democratic president and vice president’s plans on condition of anonymity because their schedules have not been officially announced.

The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is still considered one of the greatest and most consequential racial justice demonstrations in U.S. history.

The nonviolent protest attracted as many as 250,000 people to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and provided the momentum for passage by Congress of landmark civil rights and voting rights legislation in the years that followed. King was assassinated in April 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.

Black civil right leaders and a multiracial, interfaith coalition of allies will gather in Washington to mark six decades since the first march. Biden will be flying back to Washington on Saturday after a week of vacation with his family in California’s Lake Tahoe region.

Civil rights advocates commemorate the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom amid a nationwide reckoning over racial injustice.

Aug. 28, 2020

This year’s commemoration comes at a difficult moment in U.S. history following the erosion of voting rights nationwide and the recent striking down of affirmative action in college admissions and abortion rights by the Supreme Court and amid growing threats of political violence and hatred against people of color, Jewish people and LGBTQ+ people.

White House officials say Biden and Harris, who are seeking reelection in 2024, are working hard to advance King’s dream of equal opportunity for every American. Harris is the first Black person to be vice president.


Biden has signed executive orders to advance racial justice and equity throughout the federal government and to expand access to the right to vote. Voting rights legislation backed by Biden and Harris has stalled in a divided Congress.

Biden recently designated a national monument to honor Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Till is the Black teenager from Chicago who was tortured and killed in 1955 after he was accused of whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. The killing helped galvanize the civil rights movement.

Alester Pryor remembers the exact spot where she sat on the ground with her mother at the foot of the Washington Monument — a teenage black girl from Kansas about to watch one of the most stirring speeches in American history.

May 29, 2020

Harris has been outspoken about what she says are attempts by “extremists” to rewrite Black history, including the Florida Board of Education’s recent approval of a revised curriculum to satisfy legislation signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate. The new standards include instruction that enslaved people benefited from skills they learned while in bondage.

The White House says Black Americans are also benefiting from Biden’s economic and other policies, including low unemployment.

Biden’s aides note his numerous appointments of Black women to federal courts, nearly $7 billion in aid to the nation’s network of historically Black colleges and universities, and the president’s efforts to forgive billions of dollars in student loan debt.