Review the documentary and TIME magazine articles( Attached) about Dr. Martin Luther King’s work as public figure. The film and the articles provide and overview of the campaigns Dr. King helped to lead up until his death on April 4, 1968. Specifically, as you watch the film and read the articles, consider how Dr. King, a public figure, used persuasion, propaganda and the media to influence public opinion in his role as a leader. Write a short 3-5 paragraph that summarizes your thoughts on his work as a public figure.* Write these tow points in the essay ( paraphrase them): – I think when James Lawson who was Martin Luther King’s friend, invited him to maintain the momentum of the movement, he used the testimonial propaganda technique to support the sanitation workers campaign.- When MLK said ” I will not lead a violent demonstration”, he used glittering generalities technique, to gain people’s trust and confidence by his non-violent peaceful marches. * write the references.At the river I stand ( full movie )https://ezproxy.library.astate.edu/login?url=http://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=95224&xtid=49745
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Poor People’s Campaign
Martin Luther King announced the Poor People’s Campaign at a staff
retreat for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in
November 1967. Seeking a middle ground between riots on the one
hand and timid supplications for justice on the other,” King planned for
an initial group of 2,000 poor people to descend on Washington, D.C.,
southern states and northern cities to meet with government of?cials
to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, and
education for poor adults and children designed to improve their selfimage and self-esteem (King, 29 November 1967).
Suggested to King by Marion Wright, director of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Legal Defense
and Education Fund in Jackson, Mississippi, the Poor People’s
Campaign was seen by King as the next chapter in the struggle for
genuine equality. Desegregation and the right to vote were essential,
but King believed that African Americans and other minorities would
never enter full citizenship until they had economic security. Through
nonviolent direct action, King and SCLC hoped to focus the nation’s
attention on economic inequality and poverty. This is a highly
signi?cant event,” King told delegates at an early planning meeting,
describing the campaign as the beginning of a new co-operation,
understanding, and a determination by poor people of all colors and
backgrounds to assert and win their right to a decent life and respect
for their culture and dignity” (SCLC, 15 March 1968). Many leaders of
American Indian, Puerto Rican, Mexican American, and poor white
communities pledged themselves to the Poor People’s Campaign.
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Some in SCLC thought King’s campaign too ambitious, and the
demands too amorphous. Although King praised the simplicity of the
campaign’s goals, saying, it’s as pure as a man needing an income to
support his family,” he knew that the campaign was inherently
different from others SCLC had attempted (King, 29 November 1967).
We have an ultimate goal of freedom, independence, selfdetermination, whatever we want to call it, but we aren’t going to get
all of that now, and we aren’t going to get all of that next year,” he
commented at a staff meeting on 17 January 1968. Let’s ?nd
something that is so possible, so achievable, so pure, so simple that
even the backlash can’t do much to deny it. And yet something so
non-token and so basic to life that even the black nationalists can’t
disagree with it that much” (King, 17 January 1968).
After King’s assassination in April 1968, SCLC decided to go on with
the campaign under the leadership of Ralph Abernathy, SCLC’s new
president. On Mother’s Day, 12 May 1968, thousands of women, led by
Coretta Scott King, formed the ?rst wave of demonstrators. The
following day, Resurrection City, a temporary settlement of tents and
shacks, was built on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Braving rain, mud,
and summer heat, protesters stayed for over a month. Demonstrators
made daily pilgrimages to various federal agencies to protest and
demand economic justice. Mid-way through the campaign, Robert
Kennedy, whose wife had attended the Mother’s Day opening of
Resurrection City, was assassinated. Out of respect for the campaign,
his funeral procession passed through Resurrection City. The
Department of the Interior forced Resurrection City to close on 24
June 1968, after the permit to use park land expired.
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Although the campaign succeeded in small ways, such as qualifying
200 counties for free surplus food distribution, and securing promises
from several federal agencies to hire poor people to help run programs
for the poor, Abernathy felt these concessions were insuf?cient.
Ben A. Franklin, 5,000 Open Poor People’s Campaign in Washington,”
New York Times,13 May 1968.
Ben A. Franklin, Poor People’s Drive Makes Gains, but Fails to Reach
Goals,” New York Times, 30 June 1968.
King, Address at workshop on civil disobedience at SCLC staff retreat,
29 November 1967, MLKJP-GAMK.
King, Address delivered at SCLC staff meeting, 17 January 1968,
Joseph A. Loftus, City of the Poor Shuts Peacefully,” New York Times,
25 June 1968.
McKnight, Last Crusade, 1998.
SCLC, Press release, Black and White Together,” 15 March 1968,
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Martin Luther King’s Economic
Dream: A Guaranteed Income for
The civil rights leader laid out his vision for fighting
poverty in his final book.
Jordan Weissmann Aug 28, 2013
One of the more under-appreciated aspects of Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr.’s legacy is that by the end of his career, he had fashioned himself
into a crusader against poverty, not just among blacks, but all
Americans. In the weeks leading to his assassination, the civil rights
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leader had been hard at work organizing a new march on Washington
known as the “Poor People’s Campaign.” The goal was to erect a tent
city on the National Mall, that, as Mark Engler described it for The
Nation in 2010, would “dramatize the reality of joblessness and
deprivation by bringing those excluded from the economy to the
doorstep of the nation’s leaders.” He was killed before he could see
the effort through.
So what, exactly, was King’s economic dream? In short, he wanted the
government to eradicate poverty by providing every American a
guaranteed, middle-class incomean idea that, while lightyears beyond the realm of mainstream political conversation today,
had actually come into vogue by the late 1960s.
To be crystal clear, a guaranteed incomeor a universal basic income,
as it’s sometimes called todayis not the same as a higher minimum
wage. Instead, it’s a policy designed to make sure each American has
a certain concrete sum of money to spend each year. One modern
version of the policy would give every adult a tax credit that would
essentially become a cash payment for families that don’t pay much
tax. Conservative thinker Charles Murray has advocated replacing the
whole welfare state by handing every grown American a full $10,000.
King had an even more expansive vision. He laid out the case for the
guaranteed income in his final book, 1967’s Where Do We Go From
Here: Chaos or Community? Washington’s previous efforts to fight
poverty, he concluded, had been “piecemeal and pygmy.” The
government believed it could lift up the poor by attacking the root
causes of their impoverishment one by oneby providing better
housing, better education, and better support for families. But these
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efforts had been too small and too disorganized. Moreover, he wrote,
“the programs of the past all have another common failingthey are
indirect. Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else.”
It was time, he believed, for a more straightforward approach: the
government needed to make sure every American had a reasonable
In part, King’s thinking seemed to stem from a sense that no matter
how strongly the economy might grow, it would never eliminate
poverty entirely, or provide jobs for all. As he put it:
We have come a long way in our understanding of human
motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now
we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy
and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness
and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their
will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today
by being branded as inferior and incompetent. We also know that
no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands it
does not eliminate all poverty.
The problem indicates that our emphasis must be two-fold. We
must create full employment or we must create incomes. People
must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they
are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the
potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that
enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom
traditional jobs are not available
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Note, King did not appear to be arguing that Washington should
simply pay people not to work. Rather, he seemed to believe it was the
government’s responsibility to create jobs for those left behind by the
economy (from his language here, it’s not hard to imagine he might
even have supported a work requirement, in some circumstances), but
above all else, to ensure a basic standard of living.
More than basic, actually. King argued that the guaranteed income
should be “pegged to the median of society,” and rise
automatically along with the U.S. standard of living. “To guarantee an
income at the floor would simply perpetuate welfare standards and
freeze into the society poverty conditions,” he wrote. Was it feasible?
Maybe. He noted an estimate by John Kenneth Galbraith that the
government could create a generous guaranteed income with $20
billion, which, as the economist put it, was “not much more than we
will spend the next fiscal year to rescue freedom and democracy and
religious liberty as these are defined by ‘experts’ in Vietnam.”
As practical economics, ensuring every single American a middle class
living through government redistribution and work programs seems a
bit fanciful. The closest such an idea ever really came to fruition,
meanwhile, was President Nixon’s proposed Family Assistance Plan,
which would have ended welfare and instead guaranteed families of
four $1,600 a year, at a time when the median household income was
But as a statement of values, King’s notion remains powerful. So with
that in mind, I’ll leave you with man’s own words.
The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our
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distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our
abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and upper
classes until they gag with superfluity. If democracy is to have
breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity. It is not
only moral, but it is also intelligent. We are wasting and degrading
human life by clinging to archaic thinking.
The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as
cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of
civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet
learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant
animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize
ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.
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What Happened to Martin Luther
King Jr.’s Last Campaigns
As the world this week observes the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther
King’s assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968, another anniversary
arrives: a half-century of those who picked up his torch continuing to
fight for some of the same causes he was fighting for at the moment
he was killed.
Experts note that one of the main campaigns he was working on at the
time of his death remains unresolved. But, in typical fashion, he had
several irons in the fire at that moment in 1968.
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The week after King’s death, TIME’s story on the assassination framed
King’s death in Memphis as an irony: the conqueror of Montgomery,
Birmingham and Selma had died while participating in a minor labor
dispute, referring to the Memphis sanitation-workers strike that had
brought him to Tennessee. King had been invited to the city by pastor
James Lawson, a Montgomery bus boycott veteran. There, 1,300
predominantly black workers had been striking for two months for fair
wages and better working conditions. The strike was prompted by the
death of two of their colleagues, who were crushed to death in the
compactor of a garbage truck the only place where they could wait
out a rainstorm in a white neighborhood where residents were uneasy
about African Americans hanging around where they lived.
Some of King’s closest advisers at the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference shared the view that Memphis was merely a distraction
from larger concerns.
At the time, he was supposed to be planning a larger demonstration to
be held in Washington in a few months: the Poor People’s Campaign.
The march had been in the works for months, since King in late 1967
called for thousands of Americans living in poverty to travel to the
capital to demand economic equality. He was partly inspired by the
so-called Bonus Army’s actions in 1932, when starving World War I
veterans came to Washington to demand the payment of a bonus
they’d been promised for their service. That march was a factor in the
later passage of the GI Bill, according to Taylor Branch, author of the
Pulitzer Prize-winning Parting the Waters: America in the King Years
The planning of such a grand event came at a troubled time for the
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movement King led, and the trouble only increased after King came
out in opposition to the Vietnam War, most famously in an Apr. 4, 1967,
speech at Riverside Church. Money from big donors had dried up
before he came out against the war, and then his anti-war statements
only exacerbated their money problem, says Trey Ellis, executive
producer of the HBO Documentary King in the Wilderness, which
focuses on this later period of the leader’s life. His anti-war statements
cost him his alliance with President Lyndon B. Johnson, and thus many
The cost of doing business with Johnson was to, at a minimum stay
silent about the escalating war in Vietnam, which is where a lot of
resources were going, says Clarence Lang, an expert on African
American labor history and chair of African and African American
Studies at the University of Kansas. King was calling out the Johnson
administration for declaring a war on poverty,’ instituting these Great
Society programs, [but] essentially starving them.
Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History
King, however, saw the deep connection between his larger campaign
for economic equality and what was going on in Memphis. It was in a
Mar. 18 speech to the sanitation workers that he famously declared,
What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch
counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger? That
speech was so successful that he was invited back to march with the
strikers on Mar. 28.
Violence broke out. A policeman fatally shot one 16-year-old African
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American teen and dozens were injured. He didn’t want to leave
Memphis on that note.
He had to come back a third time. He had to prove there could be a
nonviolent march because he was blamed for the violence, says
Clayborne Carson, founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. He knew that
if he couldn’t control the violence in Memphis at a much smaller event,
that this would undermine the Poor People’s Campaign, so he felt he
had to come back and show that nonviolence could work.
Yet violence was exactly how it ended, when James Earl Ray shot King
on the second floor balcony of Memphis’ Lorraine Motel on April 4.
Historians say the Poor People’s Campaign essentially disintegrated
after his death. Though the march on Washington did take place later
that spring, it didn’t get as much attention as expected. TIME
characterized the event as motivated by disillusionment and despair.
Most of the ideas on the campaign’s platform, such as a guaranteed
income, have never been realized. And while new leaders emerged
for example, Jesse Jackson became more visible in the movement
after King’s assassination, in part because of his work on King’s latein-life campaigns it became clearer than ever that many considered
King the glue that kept organizers united.
King’s death didn’t spell the end of every one of the projects he’d had
underway. Memphis eventually cut a deal with the sanitation workers,
and at least one big national policy that King had been pushing for
appeared only to get passed because of his assassination, as an
homage to the civil rights leader and a concession to a people left
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angry and sad by the killing. The Fair Housing Act, which banned
formal discrimination in the rent and sale of housing, had pretty much
been stalled in Congress; it passed just days after King’s death.
There’s a wave of riots in a lot of northern cities including
Washington, D.C., [after his death] and the Fair Housing Act is seen as
a possible way of preventing more, says Philip A. Klinkner, professor
of Government at Hamilton College and author of The Unsteady
March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America. It only
passes because of these incredibly violent riots after the death of this
apostle of nonviolence, so there’s a lot of irony laden in that.
But, Klinker argues, aside from affirmative action in the ’70s, there are
no more major legislative victories for the movement.
That means those who believed in the ideas King championed at the
end of his life are still fighting. Modern activists have picked up the
name of the Poor People’s Campaign, and parallels can be seen in
everything from the Fight for $15 minimum-wage campaign to Black
Lives Matter demonstrations. Peter Ling, a King biographer, has called
the Poor People’s Campaign the civil rights leader’s most relevant
campaign for today’s world.
The stirrings of activism among young people, I think, are indications
of what we have failed to accomplish back in the ’60s, Clayborne
Carson says. I think today is about the first time in the last 50 years
where you see young people beginning to confront these issues.
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