THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 12th May 1968
5/12/2012 10:09:44 PM -
38 days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr on 4th April 1968, leaders in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) proceeded with the "Poor People's Campaign" that they had been planning with King since November 1967.
The Poor People's Campaign, referred to by King and the SCLC as the second phase of the civil rights movement, sought to challenged the injustice of poverty experienced by many people living in the United States (US), until change, in the form of an "Economic Bill of Rights" which guaranteed employment, a living wage and housing for all, was achieved. In a speech King said that by using the vehicle of the Poor People's Campaign:
"The Southern Christian Leadership Conference will lead waves of the nation's poor and disinherited to Washington DC next spring to demand redress of their grievances by the United States government and to secure at least jobs or income for all. We will go there, we will demand to be heard and we will stay until America responds. If this means forcible repression of our movement, we will confront it, for we have done this before. If this means scorn or ridicule, we embrace it, for that is what America's poor now receive. If it means jail, we accept it willingly, for the millions of poor already are imprisoned by exploitation and discrimination."
Thousands of demonstrators converged on the US capital, Washington DC, setting up a "Resurrection City" of tents in Washington Mall where protesters were housed which remained until mid- June.
The following is a short clip of Martin Luther King Jr galvanising support for the Poor People's Campaign before his untimely death:
"Always bear in mind that people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone's head. They are fighting to win material benefits to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children." Amilcar Cabral