City of Hope: Resurrection City and the 1968 Poor People's Campaign
Main Library | Bernheim Gallery | January - February 2020
During the 1960s, the United States emerged as a superpower on the world stage. But at home, poverty prevented access to opportunities for people of every race, age, and region of the county. Although President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “war on poverty” in 1964, tens of millions of Americans were denied livable wages, adequate housing, nutritious food, quality education, and healthcare. Led by Drs. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference declared poverty a national human rights issue. In response, the organization planned the Poor People’s Campaign—a grassroots, multiracial movement that drew thousands of people to Washington, D.C. For 43 days between May and June 1968, demonstrators demanded social reforms while living side-by-side on the National Mall in a tent city known as Resurrection City.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service organized this poster exhibit to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daring vision for economic justice and opportunity for every U.S. citizen.