The Poor People’s Campaign is being revived across the USA in 2018.
Fifty years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began his Poor People’s Campaign, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, a black minister and civil rights leader from North Carolina, and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, a white theologian originally from Milwaukee, announced a revival of Dr. King’s campaign, which stalled when he was assassinated in 1968. Organizers now hope to mount large protests on 40 consecutive days next year, in at least 25 state capitals and other locations, with crowds in the tens of thousands courting arrest.
To mark this, a USA report was launched entitled The Souls of Poor Folk – written by the Institute for Policy Studies.
The Souls of Poor Folk is an assessment of the conditions and trends of poverty today and of the past fifty years in the United States. In 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., alongside a multiracial coalition of grassroots leaders, religious leaders, and other public figures, began organizing with poor and marginalized communities across racial and geographic divides. Together, The Poor People’s Campaign aimed to confront the underlying structures that perpetuated misery in their midst.
Fifty years later, The Souls of Poor Folk challenges us to take a look at how these conditions have changed since 1968. The stark findings draw from a wide variety of sources, including primary and secondary data as well as interviews with and testimonies by people who have been living through and responding to these changes on the ground. The facts, figures, and faces in these pages counter numerous myths about poverty in our society, including two of the most prevalent: