WEWS-TV News: Dr. Martin Luther King in Cleveland, Ohio in 1967: The Poor People's Campaign
I wanted to write a blog about Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign that he launched in 1967-68. A few years after the Civil and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 65 respectfully were passed by Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. But I couldn’t find footage of that campaign that was more than a couple of minutes long. But the video I did find is still pretty good. Dr. King, understood as a freedom fighter, that he was someone who fights for freedom, not the other way around.
That of course it was important that all Americans be treated equally under law for all of us to live in freedom. But for America to be a real liberal democracy, we had to do something about poverty in America. That at the time of the late 1960s, was around 25%, perhaps twice that much for African-Americans. And that these people no matter their race to truly to live in freedom, they had to have economic freedom as well. The ability to support themselves. And not forced to live off of public assistance and be forced to live in rundown ghettos, or be forced to live in rundown shacks in rural America. But be able to have a quality of life-like the rest of the country and be able to live in security.
The Poor People’s Campaign, or as I would call it the Campaign Against Poverty, was the next phase of the civil rights movement. They already established the Civil Rights Act, that no American would be allowed to be discriminated against based on their race, ethnicity, or gender. The Voting Rights Act, establishing that no American would be allowed to be denied the right to vote based on race, ethnicity, or gender. But after that was a movement to fight poverty in America. To first bring awareness to the problem, “this what we face as a country” and then hopefully come up with steps to address the issues of poverty.
They didn’t get to this part, MLK died in April, 1968. But this would’ve been the next phase of the civil rights movement. To go along with furthering non-violence, taking on the Vietnam War and perhaps fighting for human rights worldwide. This is just one example of why the assassination of Martin King was so tragic, especially at the age of 39. An early middle-age man if that. Because there was so much left for him to accomplish and work on and he simply just ran out of time because of an ignorant escaped prison inmate, who should’ve been rotting in a Missouri prison instead.