“Even poverty is ancient history”: Resurrection City, 1968 By Jill Freedman


Demonstrators in the streets, Poor People’s Campaign, Washington D.C., 1968.

“… I knew I had to shoot the Poor People’s Campaign when they murdered Martin Luther King Jr. I had to see what was happening, to record it and be part of it, I felt so bad. Besides, it sounded too good to miss. So I went and had one of the times of my life, and this is my trip. And I never realized how much it had become a part of me until I was writing this and saying ‘we’ and ‘us’ and feeling homesick. Which is what Resurrection City was all about. Of course, it was old stuff from the start. Another nonviolent demonstration. Another march on Washington. Another army camping, calling on a government that acts like the telephone company. Even poverty is ancient history. Always have been poor people, still are, always will be. Because governments are run by ambitious men of no imagination. Whose priorities are so twisted that they burn food while people starve. And we let them. So that history doesn’t change much but the names. Nothing protects the innocent. And no news is new.  Martin asked the Indians if we could come stay on their land awhile. They said sure, and so, like earlier pioneers, we went to Washington to build a city. Long covered Greyhound wagon trains, full to bursting with the tired, the hungry, the poor, huddled and yearning to breathe free. A new Bonus Army, coming to collect on the dues we’d been paying all these years. Coming to take what was ours. I went down on the northeast caravan, which started in New England but picked most of us up in New York the second day. From New York we went to Newark, then Trenton, Wilmington, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, taking new people with us each morning. It was exciting, counting ourselves going around curves, rolling into a new city each day. People coming to meet us. ‘Join us, join us,’ we’d shout. Many would. Until it seemed as though the whole town were marching, singing together. …”
The Paris Review
W – Poor People’s Campaign – Resurrection City, 1968
NY Times: In 1968, a ‘Resurrection City’ of Tents, Erected to Fight Poverty
YouTube: The Original Occupy Movement – Poor People’s March 1968 Jill Freedman


Shanties being built in Resurrection City, Poor People’s Campaign, Washington, D.C., May 13, 1968.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Civil Rights Mov., CORE, Dick Gregory, Free Speech Mov., Huey P. Newton, Jesse Jackson, MLKJr., Poverty, SCLC, SNCC and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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