Fifty years following the memorable strike by Sanitation Workers in Memphis, Tennessee, two social justice advocacy groups have revitalized Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign. On Monday, February 12, 2018, more than 500 people marched from Clayborn Temple to Memphis’ City Hall, the same route striking sanitation workers walked in 1968. This demonstration was one of thirty held nationwide to commemorate the historic strike and re-start the Poor People’s Campaign, now subtitled “A National Call to Moral Revival.”
Rev. William Barber of North Carolina, and Rev. Liz Theoharis of New York, two of the leaders of the new campaign, announced an upcoming six-weeks of direct actions and non-violent civil disobedience initiatives. Starting on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018, demonstrations will be held across the country to address issues of racism, poverty, militarism and ecological destruction.
Dr. King announced his Poor People’s Campaign in December, 1967 calling it “a trek to the nation’s capital by suffering and outraged citizens who will go to stay until some definite and positive action is taken to provide jobs and income for the poor.” During the final planning of the campaign, Dr. King left the group to support the striking workers in Memphis, which lead to his assassination on April 4, 1968.