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Poor People United and Protesting, Across the Nation

On Saturday, 50 years after the Poor People’s Campaign first took to Washington, the advocacy group started by Martin Luther King gathered again in the capital to continue his fight.
Clasped hands in front of a banner at the Poor People's Campaign rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, June 23, 2018.
Clasped hands in front of a banner at the Poor People's Campaign rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, June 23, 2018.Jose Luis Magana/AP

For 43 days in 1968, Washington’s National Mall was transformed into a protestor’s shantytown. Approximately 3,000 people moved into tents and makeshift structures lining the grass between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol to create Resurrection City. Activists camped to advocate for better wages, better social services, and affordable housing for the poor. The thousands of protestors were part of a new group called the Poor People’s Campaign, a coalition organized by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. before his assassination.

“This will be no mere one-day march in Washington,” King said of his vision for the event and the campaign, the fruits of which he would never see. “But a trek to the nation’s capital by suffering and outraged citizens who will go to stay until some definite and positive action is taken to provide jobs and income for the poor.”