All posts filed under: Left Voice

© Warren K. Leffler, U.S. News & World Report/WikiCommons

What We Can Learn from MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign

Towards the end of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shifted from the civil rights agenda for which he is remembered to a new phase in his struggle for justice, the Poor People’s Campaign. It had five demands for the federal government: the creation of ‘socially useful career jobs,’ urban development projects, an end to punitive welfare policies, the protection of farmers’ rights to unionize, and the reallocation of public funds to educational programs. To achieve these goals, King organized a protest on National Mall. At 50,000 strong, the demonstrators erected a ‘Resurrection City’ where they camped for weeks, even though King himself was assassinated before the occupation commenced. The campaign was controversial with both King’s opponents and his allies. His opponents viewed his call for ‘a radical restructuring of wealth and power’ as proof that he was a communist. Being that this proposition followed King’s public condemnation of the Vietnam War, his Democratic political allies in the White House also found the new campaign to be too radical. Fellow members of the Southern …