08 September 2008

summer of 68- forty years thence

Voice over loudspeaker: 'I would like to introduce to you Dr. Ralph David Abernathy -- the mayor of Resurrection City! Yeah!'

stuff i have been meaning to post for months now. excerpts pasted to persuade you to click through. enjoy:

Resurrection City

Rev. King had the vision to bring together poor people of all races to make visible the plight of poverty. It was not to be a sit-it, but a live-in. They built "Resurrection City" on the mall on Washington -- and the legacy of this city's rise and fall lives today.

Dr. Bernard Lafayette: I got a call from Martin Luther King. This was in '67. He said, 'I need you to come down to Atlanta and to move here and work full time. This may be my last campaign and we're going for broke.' And when I got to Atlanta, he appointed me the national coordinator for the Poor People's Campaign. Now the idea originally came from Marion Wright Edelman.

Marion Wright Edelman: I was Marion Wright back in 1968. I had been working with Robert Kennedy on poverty in Mississippi, and he told me to tell Dr. King to bring the poor to Washington. To make them visible.

Lafayette: And the idea was that we would bring those people in front of the folk who make decisions and build this tent city and camp out until you get what you want. The two of us, we're talking, so I said to MLK, 'Well, you say this is a PPC. Well, black people aren't the only ones poor -- are you talking about getting Hispanics involved?' He said 'Yes!' 'What about Native Americans?' 'Yes!' So I was getting to the final question, and that was the poor whites from Appalachia... He said, 'Are they poor?' He said if they were poor then this was their campaign.


MLK Memorial Statue dispute

Members of a powerful federal arts commission expressed satisfaction yesterday with changes to a memorial statue of Martin Luther King Jr. after the architect smoothed away wrinkles in King's brow and reshaped the mouth to impart a hint of a smile.

forty years after the poor people's campaign, king's assassination, and the riots that left swaths of many american cities, including the neighborhood next door to mine, burned out and barren, this country is still fucking up our responsibility to authentically remember a man who looked at the state of things and was not satisfied -- let alone our responsibility to authentically confront injustice.


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