Poor People’s Campaign


“The Poor People’s Campaign, or Poor People’s March on Washington, was a 1968 effort to gain economic justice for poor people in the United States. It was organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and carried out under the leadership of Ralph Abernathy in the wake of King’s assassination. The campaign demanded economic and human rights for poor Americans of diverse backgrounds. After presenting an organized set of demands to Congress and executive agencies, participants set up a 3,000-person protest camp on the Washington Mall, where they stayed for six weeks in the spring of 1968. The Poor People’s Campaign was motivated by a desire for economic justice: the idea that all people should have what they need to live. King and the SCLC shifted their focus to these issues after observing that gains in civil rights had not improved the material conditions of life for many African Americans. The Poor People’s Campaign was a multiracial effort—including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Native Americans—aimed at alleviating poverty regardless of race.  According to political historians such as Barbara Cruikshank, ‘the poor’ did not particularly conceive of themselves as a unified group until President Lyndon Johnson‘s War on Poverty (declared in 1964) identified them as such.  … Poor African-Americans, particularly women, suffered from racism and sexism that amplified the impact of poverty, especially after ‘welfare mothers’ became a nationally recognized concept. By 1968, the War on Poverty seemed like a failure, neglected by a Johnson administration (and Congress) that wanted to focus on the Vietnam War and increasingly saw anti-poverty programs as primarily helping African-Americans. The Poor People’s Campaign sought to address poverty through income and housing. The campaign would help the poor by dramatizing their needs, uniting all races under the commonality of hardship and presenting a plan to start to a solution. …”
Wikipedia
Poor People’s Campaign
Bill Moyers – A Revolution of Values: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Poor People’s Campaign
NPR: Poor People’s Campaign: A Dream Unfulfilled (Video)
Dissent: Martin Luther King’s Radical Legacy, From the Poor People’s Campaign to Black Lives Matter
YouTube: MLK on the Poor’s People Campaign, Martin Luther King 1968 Poor People’s Campaign

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This entry was posted in Bill Moyers, Dick Gregory, Lyn. Johnson, MLKJr., Poverty, Religion, SCLC, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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