On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the most important speeches in American history on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The “I Have a Dream” speech is widely remembered as the beginning of the end of Jim Crow legislation in the south and a new era of race relations in America. Yet many people forget that after the historic Civil Rights legislation in 1964, Dr. King immediately begin working on the other ills that faced not just African-Americans, but all disenfranchised peoples across the country. In 1967, Dr. King and the Southern Leadership conference embarked on what we know today as “The Poor People’s Campaign.” This campaign looked at the apathy of the government when it addressed the rights of poor peoples across the country. Under Dr. King’s leadership, the SCLC lobbied congress for an “Economic Bill of Rights” that guaranteed people of all economic statuses fair housing and guaranteed income for all Americans. As we fast forward to 2012, Dr. King’s “Poor People’s Campaign” looks very similar to our Occupy movement, a movement which challenges big business and their apathy towards the working class Americans. I smile when I think about the Occupy Movement, or listen to stories of communities coming together to challenge unfair evictions, or watching black soccer players in Europe challenge racist banter and think, whether or not they know it, Dr. King’s legacy is alive and well.
Is Dr. King’s legacy really being remembered?