Poor People’s Campaign Records, 1968
Collection No. 119 (1 Linear Foot)
*Note: Box 1 is currently undergoing digitization and is temporarily unavailable for research*
D.C. Community Archives
The origin of this collection is undocumented.
HistoryThe Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 was intended to be a weeklong march through Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to pass anti-poverty legislation to help the poor find work, health care and housing. Protesters began to march on May 12, 1968. The protesters endured weeks of rain and brutal conditions as many resided on the National Mall in makeshift shacks and tents. This site eventually became known as “Resurrection City.” The protest ended on June 24, 1968.
Rev. Ralph Abernathy, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's (SCLC) successor to the slain Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., began the Poor People's Campaign with the proclamation that "the poor are no longer divided. We are not going to let the white man put us down anymore. It's not white power, and I'll give you some news, it's not black power, either. It's poor power and we're going to use it."
The SCLC's William Rutherford later called the Poor People's Campaign the "Little Bighorn" of the Civil Rights Movement, a reference to the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn in which General George Custer fought against Native Americans and was killed. The campaign was regarded as a failure according to many journalists and historians. However, recent scholarship suggests that the campaign did have a lasting impact on hundreds of people who were introduced to interethnic organizing.
Processing ProceduresGeneral processing procedures included removing fragile newspaper clippings from cardboard scrapbook mounts and photocopying them onto acid-free, archival-quality paper. The newspaper clippings were placed into oversized folders and housed in an oversize box. Those clippings without a discernable date are placed in their own separate folder.
Scope and Content NoteThe contents of this collection include: correspondence, flyers, memorabilia, newsletters, newspaper clippings, newsletters, poems, and songs.
RestrictionsThere are no restrictions to this collection.
|FF1||“A Letter to Friends from D.C. Jail,” 1968|
|FF2||Correspondent Letter, 1968|
|FF3||Letter to Judge, 1968|
|FF4||A Report to Baltimore Yearly Meeting of Friends, 1968|
|FF5||Report of the Legislative Committee for the Poor People’s Campaign, 1968|
|FF6||William Penn Newsletter, n.d.|
|FF7||Summary of the Commission Report and Legislative before Congress, n.d.|
|FF8||Policy Statement on Poverty, Jobs, and Income, n.d.|
|FF9||Income Memorandum, n.d.|
|FF10||Action Bulletin, 1968|
|FF12||True Unity News of Resurrection City, 1968|
|FF 13||Solidarity Day Programme, 1968|
|FF 14||MLK Slogans, n.d.|
|FF 15||Brochures, n.d.|
|FF 16||Resurrection City Songs, 1968|
|FF 17||List of Worshipers Arrested on Capitol, 1968|
|FF 18||Job Mobilization Support Sheet, n.d.|
|FF 19||True Unity Resurrection Poems, n.d.|
|FF 20||Flyer, n.d.|
Box 2 (Oversize)
|FF 21||Clippings, 1968|
|FF 22||Clippings, n.d.|
Compiled by David Edmonds, May 2009
DC Public Library, Special Collections
D.C. Community Archives
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