Civil Rights and Protests

Race Riots

What was Resurrection City?

When the Poor People’s March on Washington was held in 1968, blacks constructed a temporary shantytown at the National Mall and called it Resurrection City. The area housed citizens of the march who sought to place the problems of the poor at the seat of the federal government. The campaign was the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) last major initiative as it attempted to broaden the Civil Rights Movement to include an economic platform for all poor people, regardless of race. Approximately five weeks after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., Resurrection City was constructed for a multitude of protesters. The protest march for the poor departed from the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, the site of King’s assassination, on May 2, 1968, and proceeded to the nation’s capital. Along the way teams of mules demonstrating the desperate plight of the rural poor pulled wagons of people through Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. President Lyndon B. Johnson ignored Resurrection City and Congress closed its governmental coffers to the people’s demands for economic justice. While the campaign secured a few concessions from federal agencies, it cannot be considered successful.


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