The Poor People’s Campaign was being organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) when Dr. King was murdered in Memphis while fighting for the rights of sanitation workers. King and SCLC believed that a living wage was a key to creating the “beloved community” and a basic human right.
Fifty years later, the fight continues. And I support it.
In the days following Dr. King’s assassination, Washington D.C. experienced the most destructive rioting in its history. I think that the disturbances which followed King’s murder are worth revisiting because of what they can tell us of the disparity between the promise of American life and its reality for many. I also think it is worth revisiting on account of the role of racism in shaping the physical, economic, psychological, and sociological landscape of urban and black life in the United States.
In the fall of 1968, the Washington Post put out a book on the riots which still stands as a valuable document that has helped me to understand a world I grew up adjacent to but also very far away from.