Use Hope and Imagination as Weapons

[Photo courtesy Cleveland Magazine] Jesse Jackson works as campaign aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Cleveland to help elect Carl Stokes, first Black mayor of large American city.

[Photo courtesy Cleveland Magazine] Jesse Jackson works as campaign aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Cleveland to help elect Carl Stokes, first Black mayor of large American city.

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Demanding our Freedom

Now, when we come to Washington, in this campaign, we are coming to get our check.

The Poor People’s Campaign and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work continues today. Project South, an organization working to eliminating poverty and genocide, encourages all people to get involved with their volunteer opportunities, popular education programs and street teams. To learn more about how poverty continues to affect us in the 21st century, Dr. Cornell West and Tavis Smiley’s Poverty Tour highlight the plight of poor people of all races, colors, and creeds.

A Letter from Birmingham Jail

Happy birthday Martin Luther King, Jr. Your courage, faith and activism continues to inspire us today.

Happy birthday Martin Luther King, Jr. Your courage, faith and activism continues to inspire us today.

16 April 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.” I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

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