World House Podcast: Episode 20 - Last March
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. displays the poster to be used during his Poor People's Campaign on March 4, 1968.
In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr., began working on his most ambitious and also his last major campaign; the Poor People's Campaign
(PPC). He announced it during the staff retreat for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
(SCLC) in November 1967. King planned for a nationwide, interracial coalition of activists to convene in Washington, D.C. They would meet with government officials to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, and education for poor adults and children. Desegregation and voting rights were essential, but King understood that African Americans and other minorities wouldn't experience equality until they had economic security. Through nonviolent direct action, King and the SCLC planned to draw the nation's attention to economic inequality and poverty.
While working on the PPC, King was invited to Memphis to support the striking sanitation workers.
He believed the struggle in Memphis exemplified the need for economic equality and social justice that King hoped the Poor People's Campaign
would highlight nationally. However, King neither had a chance to march with the Memphis sanitation workers nor participate in the PPC. On April 4, 1969, King was shot
outside his motel room and died just a few hours later.
Clayborne Carson, Liberation Curriculum