Justice  /  Speech

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Call For a Poor People’s Campaign

In early 1968, the activist planned a massive protest in the nation’s capital.

Thank you very much my brothers and sisters of Eutaw, Alabama … Let me announce now that you have already revealed your support for this campaign to gain jobs and income for the poor people of our nation, because you have contributed eighty six dollars and sixty one cents. I think you ought to give yourselves a hand for that …

We are ready to go to Washington. Now we’ve been fooling around in many areas. And we’ve been doing some significant things all across the South. We’ve gotten public accommodations about straightened out. We fought here and all over from Selma right through the black belt of Alabama to get the right to vote. Now we are going to get the right to have three square meals a day. Now we are going to get the right to have a decent house to live in. Now we are going to get the right to have some money in our pockets so that we can buy steak when we want to buy it … Now we are going to get the right to be able to educate our children. Now we are going to get the right for our wives and our mothers not to have to get up early in the morning, and run over to the white lady’s kitchen and clean and wash her clothes but to be able to stay at home and raise her own children. Now we are fighting for the right. Now we are fighting for the right to get proper medical care. Now we are fighting for the right to have enough money to have our physical-medical examination every year. Now we are fighting for the right to be able to see our dentist every year. Now we are fighting for the right to get the basic necessities of life. And in fighting for this right we aren’t going to stop in Montgomery this time. We aren’t going to stop in Atlanta this time. We aren’t going to stop in Columbia, South Carolina, this time. We’re going through all of them, but we aren’t going to stop. We aren’t going to stop in North Carolina, the city of Charlotte, this time. And we aren’t going to stop in Richmond, Virginia, this time. We aren’t going to stop until we get to the gates of the White House before Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the Congress of the United States of America. Now if we are going to carry on this campaign, this Poor People’s Campaign, this campaign to guarantee jobs and income, we’re going to need people, large numbers of people …