Subseries 10.3
Poor People's Campaign records, 1964-1988
Boxes 571 - 575

Historical Note

The Poor People's Campaign was an anti-poverty campaign initiated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Conceptualized by King as "the second phase" of the Civil Rights Movement, the Poor People's Campaign sought to place the issues of jobs, income, and housing for poor Americans on the national agenda. One of its principal objectives was to lobby the federal government for an "economic bill of rights" that would ensure economic justice for the nation's poor. After King's assassination, SCLC, now under the direction of Ralph David Abernathy, decided to proceed with the campaign in King's honor. The Poor People's Campaign was inaugurated by Coretta Scott King, who led female demonstrators to the nation's capital on Mother's Day 1968.

An important aspect of the Poor People's Campaign was Resurrection City, a fledgling township of tents and shacks constructed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For over a month, protestors stayed in Resurrection City, as a testament of their allegiance to the Poor People's Campaign and as a dramatic demonstration of the plight of the poor in America. During this time, protestors urged the government to pass a housing bill, a jobs bill, and a repeal of the Social Security Act, among other demands and provisions.

Chapter II of the Poor People's Campaign began in the spring of 1969 and its focus was primarily on labor struggles in Charleston, South Carolina. The most significant campaign from Chapter II was SCLC's support of striking Local 1199B of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, better known as the Charleston Hospital Worker's strike, for which president Ralph David Abernathy went to jail. In the late 1980s, SCLC revived the Poor People's Campaign initiative under the name Poor People's Crusade. From 1987-1988, SCLC engaged in a number of activities, such as public hearings, to draw national attention to the continuing struggle of the American poor.

Scope and Content Note

The subseries consists of the records of the Poor People's Campaign from 1964-1988, including the iconic activities of 1968, Chapter II of the Poor People's Campaign in 1969, and the Poor People's Crusade from 1987-1988. In general the subseries consists of files relating to the planning and strategizing of each initiative. Records for the Poor People's Campaign (1968) include correspondence; reports; committee records; materials relating to the regional caravans that traveled to Washington D.C.; guidelines for the Poor People's Campaign staff; and UPI press clippings reporting the campaign. Also present are files relating to partner organizations. Records for Chapter II of the Poor People's Campaign and for the Poor People's Crusade are limited, but also contain correspondence and planning files.

For additional records relating to the planning and execution of the Poor People's Campaign see Subseries 2.2: Ralph David Abernathy files; Subseries 3.2: Andrew J. Young files; and Subseries 4.1: William A. Rutherford files. For additional records relating to Chapter II of the Poor People's Campaign, see Subseries 2.2: President Ralph David Abernathy files. For additional records relating to the Poor People's Crusade, see Subseries 2.3: President Joseph E. Lowery files and Series 7: Department of Direct Action records. For transcripts of speeches from all three campaigns see Series 11: Martin Luther King Speaks. For audio of speeches and events from all three campaigns, see Series 19: Audiovisual.

Arrangement Note

Arranged in alphabetical order.

Poor People's Campaign (1968)
Box Folder Content
571 1 Adopt a Family program, March 1968
571 2 American Indians, 1964-1968
571 3 The Benevolence Club of SCLC, 1968
571 4 Black Brother of "Unity" Economic Club, undated
571 5 Brochure, draft, circa 1968
571 6 The Cape May Conference of the Friends General Conference of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Washington, D.C., June 28, 1968
571 7 Cartoons and sketches, circa 1968
571 8 Committees, declaration committee, March-April 1968
571 9 Committees, general service and administration, 1968
571 10 Committees, health services coordinating committee, 1968
571 11 Committees, legal redress, July 1968
571 12 Committees, minority group steering, 1968
571 13 Committees, public relations, March-June 1968
571 14 Committees, support and recruitment, 1968
571 15 "Community Representation of Resurrection City," 1968
571 16 "Concerned black clergy [and] area black churches/mosques list," undated
571 17 "Coordination of the Poor People's March: A Working Paper," undated
571 18 Correspondence, undated
571 19 Correspondence, 1966-1967
571 20 Correspondence, 1968 January-May
571 21 Correspondence, 1968 June-December
571 22 "The Cry of Resurrection City Residents," undated
571 23 Daily program logs, December 1968
571 24 "Demands of the Poor People's Campaign," 1968
571 25 Department of Mobilization for SCLC's Washington Poor People's Campaign, 1968
571 26 "Economic Boycott Target Cities," diagram, July 1, 1968
571 27 "Fact Sheet on Hunger," undated
571 28 Financial records, fact sheet and weekly budget information, April 22, 1968
571 29 Financial records, telephone allowance, undated
571 30 Financial report, 1968
571 31 Get Out the Vote tour, October-November 1968
571 32 Gollin, Albert E., "The Demography of Protest: A Statistical Profile of Participants in the Poor People's Campaign," August 5, 1968
571 33 "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Senator!" political cartoon by Brant Parker [?], undated
571 34 Haycraft, J. Edward, draft press releases, undated
571 35 Haycraft, J. Edward, undated
571 36 "Highlights in the History of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference," undated
571 37 Hunter, Charlayne A., "On the Case of Resurrection City," October 1968
571 38 Information for Poor People's Campaign marshals, 1968
571 39 "Is Poverty My Problem?," pamphlet, 1968
571 40 "Issue: Crime and the Poor," circa 1968
571 41 Labor unions, 1968
571 42 Legal information sheet, undated
571 43 List of entertainment for the SCLC Poor People's Campaign, 1968
572 1 Map of Resurrection City, Washington, D.C., May 25, 1968
572 2 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1968
572 3 Memoranda, January-October 1968
572 4 Mexican American participation in the Poor People's Campaign, 1968
572 5 Minority Group Conference, March 14, 1968
572 6 NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1968
572 7 National and area offices, 1968
572 8 National Basketball Players Association, May-June 1968
572 9 National Solidarity Day, Washington, D.C., June 19, 1968
572 10 National Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is of the United States, undated
572 11 National Welfare Rights Organization, 1968
572 12 "Needs of the Poor People's Campaign," 1968
572 13 Nonviolent training course, 1968
572 14 Notes, undated
572 15 "Payton's Answers to People's Questions," undated
572 16 The People's Committee for Better Buses, Daytona Beach, Florida, May-August 1969
572 17 Personnel, contact information for staff and committee members, undated
572 18 Personnel, Poor People's Campaign structure and job descriptions, undated
572 19 Personnel, staff assignments and appointments, 1968
572 20 Personnel, staff rosters, 1967-1968
572 21 Poor People's Campaign Action Committee, March-April 1968
572 22 Poor People's Campaign, Bay Area, California, June 1968
572 23 Poor People's Campaign checklist, undated
572 24 Poor People's Campaign Committees, March 18, 1965
572 25 Poor People's Campaign gains, 1968
572 26 Poor People's Campaign, Harlem, New York, August 1968
572 27 Poor People's Campaign, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, undated
572 28 Poor People's Campaign proposal, April 28, 1968
572 29 Poor People's Campaign registration cards, 1968
572 30 Poor People's Campaign schedules, 1968
572 31 Poor People's Campaign, spring project preparations, 1968
572 32 Poor People's Campaign Student Task Force, 1968
572 33 Poor People's Campaign, Trenton, New Jersey, 1968
573 1 Poor People's Campaign, Washington, D.C., 1968
573 2 Poor People's Campaign, Washington, D.C., notebook, May-June 1968
573 3 Poor People's Development Fund, undated
573 4 Poor People's Embassy, 1968-1969
573 5 Poor People's University, Washington, D.C., 1968
573 6 Press releases, May-June 1968
573 7 "A Proposal for a film about Resurrection City," undated
573 8 "Prospective Partner List," undated
573 9 Public relations, 1968
573 10 "Puerto Ricans March to Washington as Part of the Poor People's Campaign," position paper, June 15, 1968
573 11 Quaker Direct Action Corps, undated
573 12 Refugees of Resurrection City, U.S.A. for Human Rights, 1968
573 13 Regional caravans, eastern leg of the Poor People's Campaign, 1968
573 14 Regional caravans, mid-west leg of the Poor People's Campaign, May 1968
573 15 Regional caravans, western leg of the Poor People's Campaign, May 1968
573 16 Registration form, undated
573 17 Report, "Hungry Children," Southern Regional Council, circa 1960s
573 18 Reports, program coordinators, August 13, 1968
573 19 Reports, weekly, March 1968
573 20 "Resurrection City: America's Rorschach Test," position paper, undated
573 21 Rustin, Bayard, "From Protest to Politics: The Future of the Civil Rights Movement," February 1964
573 22 Security detail for Poor People's Campaign, 1968
573 23 Shannon, Kay, "Terror in the Night," undated
573 24 Song sheet #1, 1968
573 25 Southern Christian Leadership Conference Union Committee, undated
573 26 Speeches and statements, circa 1968
573 27 Sponsoring organizations for the Poor People's Campaign, 1968
573 28 Staff guides, "Poor People in America: Economic Fact Sheet for Poor People's Campaign," January 1968
573 29 Staff guides, "Questions and Answers about the Washington Campaign," January 1968
573 30 Staff guides," Statement of Purpose: Poor People's Campaign, Washington, D.C., January 1968
573 31 Staff guides, "Suggested Reading List for SCLC Staff," January 1, 1968
573 32 Staff guides, "Washington Guidebook Part I: Training Materials," January 1, 1968
573 33 "Statement of Demands for Rights of the Poor Presented to Agencies of the U.S. Government by the Poor People's Campaign and its Committee of 100," April 29-May 1, 1968
574 1 "Statement of Purpose: Poor People's Campaign, Washington, D.C.," undated
574 2 Suber, Eddie, information card, undated
574 3 "To the President, Congress and Supreme Court of the United States," February 6, 1968
574 4 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [1 of 11]
574 5 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [2 of 11]
574 6 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [3 of 11]
574 7 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [4 of 11]
574 8 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [5 of 11]
574 9 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [6 of 11]
574 10 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [7 of 11]
574 11 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [8 of 11]
574 12 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [9 of 11]
574 13 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [10 of 11]
575 1 United Press International, clippings, 1968 [11 of 11]
575 2 U.S. Department of Agriculture, undated
575 3 U.S. Department of Labor, 1968
575 4 U.S. House Bill on Poor People's Campaign, undated
575 5 Violence in Resurrection City, 1968
575 6 Volunteer office and procurement, 1968
575 7 War Resisters League, undated
575 8 Washington Urban League, 1968
575 9 "We Struggle to End Hunger in America," 1968
575 10 "Who's Who in SCLC in the Poor People's Campaign," April 28, 1968
575 11 Women Strike for Peace, 1968
575 12 Writings by others, undated
575 13 Youth Council of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, June 1969
Poor People's Campaign, Chapter II (1969)
575 14 Caravan schedule, circa 1969
575 15 Charleston Project, South Carolina, 1969
575 16 Correspondence, undated
575 17 "Demands of the Poor People's Campaign," undated
575 18 Hunger March on Washington, 1969
575 19 Memoranda, 1969
575 20 "Person's Recruiting for 2nd Chapter PPC," undated
575 21 "Poor People's Campaign Chapter II," July 1969
575 22 Presentation of Demands by the Committee of 100, Washington, D.C., May 12-16, 1969
575 23 "Projected Scenarios," 1969
575 24 Requisition for printed material, 1969
The Poor People's Crusade (1987-1988)
575 25 Anti-Apartheid activities in Atlanta, Georgia, undated
575 26 Birthday observances for Martin Luther King, Jr., 1988
575 27 Brochure, draft, undated
575 28 "Christmas Call to the Nation from National Black Leaders," undated
575 29 "Contract Agreement," fragment, undated
575 30 Correspondence, 1987
575 31 Curriculum material, undated
575 32 Davenport, Brenda, "Youth and Student Organizing Manual for the Poor People's Campaign," undated
575 33 History of the Poor People's Crusade, undated
575 34 "Key Cities and Persons Responsible for Hearings," undated
575 35 The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Pilgrimage for Economic Justice, 1988
575 36 Meeting minutes and agendas, circa 1988
575 37 Memoranda, 1987
575 38 National Committee for Independent Political Action, Montgomery, Alabama chapter, undated
575 39 Planning document, draft, undated
575 40 Poor People's Crusade hearing, Atlanta, Georgia, April 4, 1987
575 41 Poor People's Crusade hearing, Detroit, Michigan, November 14, 1987
575 42 Poor People's Crusade hearing, Gulfport, Mississippi, June 26, 1987
575 43 Poor People's Crusade hearing, Montgomery, Alabama, June 5, 1987
575 44 Poor People's Crusade proposal, undated
575 45 Poor People's Platform, 1988
575 46 Poor People's Summit '88, January 15, 1988
575 47 Proposed budget, undated
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