A day after organizers from more than 700 groups brought 250,000 marchers to Washington in support of "jobs, peace and freedom," few visible signs remained yesterday of a crowd that was as large and peaceful as the one that occupied the city 20 years ago for the first March on Washington, now seen as a turning point for the rights of black Americans.
There were few immediate indications whether March on Washington II, with its diverse array of goals, would have the same impact as its 1963 forerunner on federal legislation and presidential politics.
With Congress on summer vacation and most of official Washington out of town and unavailable for comment, reaction to the march was, for the most part, held in abeyance.
Explaining the morning-after quietude in Washington, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young pointed out yesterday that "everybody said that the 1963 march wouldn't have much impact" either.
Young, speaking on the CBS program "Face the Nation," said Saturday's march has "the potential for having the same impact on the '84 elections as we did on the '64 elections," when President Lyndon Johnson resoundingly defeated conservative Republican candidate Barry Goldwater.
"There's no question that Ronald Reagan was the organizing factor that pulled this broad coalition together," Young said, referring to scores of speeches made Saturday charging that President Reagan is unfair to poor people and a threat to world peace.
Reagan was not invited to speak at the march, although he did send a message on Saturday to its leaders calling the 1963 march "a noble cause."
From the pulpit at his New Bethel Baptist Church on Ninth Street NW, D.C. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy yesterday criticized news coverage of Saturday's event for emphasizing that the goals of the march were so diverse.
"We are not confused," said Fauntroy, national organizer for the march. He told the members of his congregation that they should help "dispel the confusion that is in the minds of the press. . . . We are together on jobs, peace and freedom. Most folks in the press don't understand."
When marchers came to Washington 20 years ago their demands were for equal rights for blacks and for passage in Congress of pending civil rights legislation to guarantee those rights.
The marchers' demands Saturday included support for a bill to create state and local jobs, guaranteed parity for women in pension, tax and child-care matters, a freeze in the nuclear arms race and a stop to International Monetary Fund assistance to South Africa.
The goals of Saturday's march also included pending legislation to make King's birthday a national holiday. The bill has passed the House, and many expect favorable Senate action soon after Congress returns from its recess.
In the business of cleaning up after the march, Park Service maintenance had little trouble picking up the estimated 180 tons of litter that was left behind the all-day event on the Mall.
"All in all, it was a good day," said Park Service spokeswoman Sandra Alley. The trash left behind--leaflets and other political pamphlets and signs--was easier to handle than the food trash left, for example, after Fourth of July picnic concerts, Alley said.
Those events often leave in their wake a substantial number of glass bottles, which break and are ground into the grass.
This march left less food trash, and "people were making efforts to get near the trash bins," Alley said. While those bins were filled far beyond overflowing, a substantial portion of the trash was at least near the containers, making it easier for crews to collect it.
Another advantage for cleanup efforts, Alley said, was that the Saturday gathering, unlike those at concerts or fireworks shows, moved along, enabling crews to come in and get an early start.
Six Park Service garbage trucks, each with a capacity of several tons of trash, ferried the refuse to the D.C. incinerator on Benning Road NE, miles from the Mall.
Even the weather cooperated for the cleanup. Sunny skies Saturday followed by showers yesterday helped the Mall recover more quickly.
"The dry weather Saturday helped reduce the turf damage," Alley said. And the rain yesterday helped wet down the leaflets and other paper so they would not be scattered by the wind. The rain also cut down the dust, making it easier for the huge vacuum cleaner trucks used by the crews to sweep up the debris without getting too much dirt.
The massive loudspeaker system was gone shortly after the march, Alley said. The stage on the Mall at 14th Street was being removed yesterday afternoon. Of the more than 300 portable toilets, only 40 remained to be picked up this morning.
By afternoon yesterday, the stage area at the Lincoln Memorial was cleared except for a few chairs, and cleanup crews were giving the area a final sweep. The Memorial and the Washington Monument, which were closed Saturday for the march, were reopened yesterday morning.
Traffic yesterday was a normal Sunday, according to a D.C. police official, because the vast majority of marchers left Washington on Saturday night. Police officials said Saturday evening traffic out of town went smoothly.
D.C. police officals said the remarkably orderly march produced about two dozen arrests yesterday, many of them of people charged with operating vending stands without licenses.