Some history I didn’t know, from the Washington Post — “This was Martin Luther King Jr.’s most ambitious dream”:
I was 14 when my parents took my brother and me to Washington to witness the masses gathering there. It was the spring of 1968, and thousands of African Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Asian Americans and poor whites from across the country had made their way to the Mall to protest the thing they all had in common: poverty.
They came by train, bus and car caravans. Some traveled by mule carts. They came from farm towns, big cities, the Appalachian hills and Native American reservations. It was the start of the Poor People’s Campaign.
And they brought the nation’s attention to the crippling effects of poverty — and issued a demand for jobs, training, health care and affordable housing. This was the mission of Resurrection City — the final vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and, perhaps, his most ambitious dream.
Once they reached the Mall, they built Resurrection City. It became home for more than 6,000 people; they were there for six weeks. They built 540 tents that resembled wooden shanties, where they lived, worshiped, held meetings, set up Head Start classes and received medical care…
For all its pioneering work, the Poor People’s Campaign failed to realize its aims, in part because there is no simple solution to the nation’s economic ills. Resurrection City brought to light the country’s poverty problem but, befitting its muddy ground, found itself in a social and political quagmire — one that failed to design and construct a strategy for addressing poverty decades into the future.
Today we find ourselves in another pivotal moment in our history — one in which poverty is pervasive and knowledge of its scope scarce. Revisiting the Poor People’s Campaign offers a new vantage point into our shared story, a rich body of knowledge to inform our debates and a model for exposing injustice…
Apart from community service, what’s on the agenda as we start the new week?