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Poor Peoples Campaign Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Black Lives Matter Rally Photo by David Geitgey Sierralupe,

America has its knee on the necks of Black & Brown People

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Don Rojas — Today America is at a crossroads, a turning point…at an intersection of the old imperial order at home and abroad with the birthing of a new order, “a new normal” if you will. For millions of people in America, the unprecedented street uprisings of the past 10 days offer a glimmer of hope that after 350 years of oppression, meaningful change may actually be on the…

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Homeless in NYC Subway

Inequality and the Coronavirus, Or How to Destroy American Society From the Top Down

By Commentaries/Opinions, COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

By Liz Theoharis — My mom contracted polio when she was 14. She survived and learned to walk again, but my life was deeply affected by that virus. Today, as our larger society attempts to self-distance and self-isolate, my family has texted about the polio quarantine my mom was put under: how my grandma fearfully checked my aunt’s temperature every night because she shared a bedroom with my mom; how they…

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Commentary, Articles and Essays by Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Everybody’s Got the Right to Live

By Dr. Julianne Malveaux

By Dr. Julianne Malveaux — More than nine hundred people crowded into the Church of the Epiphany, an Episcopal church in Washington, DC.  They had gathered to hear Rev. William Barber, the dynamic and prophetic co-leader (with Rev. Liz Theoharis) of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.  They came, not only to hear Rev. Barber but also to sing and bond and listen to poor people…

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy in St. Augustine, Florida. June 1964.

The Forgotten Socialist History of Martin Luther King Jr.

By Commentaries/Opinions

King believed that a multiracial working-class movement was required to overcome the failings of capitalism. By Matthew Miles Goodrich, In These Times — In 1952 a 23-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a love letter to Coretta Scott. Along with coos of affection and apologies for his hasty handwriting, he described his feelings not just toward his future wife, but also toward America’s economic system. “I am much more socialistic…

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Martin Luther King Jr.

Learning From King’s Last Campaign

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Jessicah Pierre, CounterPunch — As we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., it’s natural to remember his courageous advocacy for racial equity. But before he was assassinated, King had also begun to broaden his efforts to unify the around economic justice. That’s worth remembering today. In December 1967, King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and other conveners laid out their vision for the first Poor People’s Campaign….

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Commentary, Articles and Essays by Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

By Dr. Julianne Malveaux

By Julianne Malveaux — I cannot overstate my tremendous admiration for Rev. William Barber.  Our connection goes back to North Carolina when I was the President of Bennett College, and he led the state NAACP.  His daughter, Sharrelle, graduated from Bennett in the spring before I assumed the Presidency and as student body president, she served on the search committee that selected me.  So he’s a friend of long-standing. In…

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Commentary, Articles and Essays by Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Poverty and the Fallacy of Long-Term Economic Greatness

By Dr. Julianne Malveaux

By Julianne Malveaux — The first week of July produced a somewhat positive Employment Situation report. While the unemployment rate ticked up just a bit, about 224,000 new jobs were created, nearly three times as many as were created in the tepid previous month. There was, of course, the Administration crowing about the strength of the economy, and with wage growth on the rise, an impassioned outsider might agree that…

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Commentary, Articles and Essays by Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Running for Exposure

By Dr. Julianne Malveaux

By Julianne Malveaux — Twenty-four people are running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.  From where I sit, at least half of them are only running for exposure, for the Vice-Presidential nod, for Cabinet secretary, to push a platform, or to simply be seen.  Their ambitions have made the process turgid and impractical, often amusing and only sometimes illuminating. The candidates do best when they have…

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Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, 1968

The Language of the Unheard: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Social Democracy

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Robert Greene II, The Nation — Gone was the optimism of 1963. It had been replaced by a sense of disillusionment, a sense of urgency that America was about to lose the last chance to have its soul.” This was how Jet magazine described the climax of the Poor People’s Campaign, which reached Washington, DC, in the tumultuous summer of 1968. For Jet and for many early civil-rights activists, the Poor People’s Campaign…

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Martin Luther King

Poverty Isn’t a Privilege: The White Man Is Your Brother Too

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Keith Magee — Writing to fellow clergy from a Birmingham Jail (The Negro Is Your Brother), Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – gravely concerned about all who were poor and experiencing inequality – said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” The world, especially,…

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Dr. Martin Luther King displays the poster to be used during his Poor People's Campaign, March 4, 1968, one month before he was shot to death by a sniper.

King’s Poor People’s Campaign

By Commentaries/Opinions

“Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check!” – Martin Luther King 1968 By Heather Gray — Source: Justice Initiative. This article first appeared in the SCLC National Magazine “Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make…

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Louise Brown, 83, at the Poor People’s Campaign rally in Washington, D.C., on June 23. The movement aims to link a broad array of issues: systemic racism, poverty and inequality, ecological devastation and the war economy.

The Poor People’s Campaign Is Using Civil Disobedience to Win Back America

By News & Current Affairs

The 50-year-old anti-poverty movement has seen a revival in the era of Trump. By Teke Wiggin, HuffPost — When lifelong civil rights activist Louise Brown took the mic at a Washington, D.C., rally on Saturday, she had a stark message for the thousands of people assembled before her to protest poverty. “I’m 83 years old, and only the strong survive,” she shouted. In a call to arms, she recounted how…

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