1968 - 50 Years Ago
In 1968, The Poor People's Campaign, or Poor People's March on Washington, was staged 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, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans—aimed at alleviating poverty regardless of race.
Today - June 23, 2018
Before the sun rose on the final morning of a 40-day protest blitz for poor people’s rights, the Rev. William Barber was wide awake.