Poor People’s Campaign: It’s Time to Resist and Rise Above

PPCSign up now for the Poor People’s Campaign, a forty-day moral revival starting the day after Mother’s Day.  Forty states are organizing.  Throw in with the movement today!

From the Poor People’s Campaign website–a look at the movement in historical context.

Why a Poor People’s Campaign?

Just a year before his assassination, at a Southern Christian Leadership Conference staff retreat in May 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

I think it is necessary for us to realize that we have moved from the era of civil rights to the era of human rights…[W]hen we see that there must be a radical redistribution of economic and political power, then we see that for the last twelve years we have been in a reform movement…That after Selma and the Voting Rights Bill, we moved into a new era, which must be an era of revolution…In short, we have moved into an era where we are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society.

Continue reading

Nonviolence vs. Jim Crow

The first essay (1942) in Time On Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin (2015).  Bayard Rustin

RECENTLY I WAS PLANNING to go from Louisville to Nashville by bus. I bought my ticket, boarded the bus, and, instead of going to the back, sat down in the second seat. The driver saw me, got up, and came toward me.

“Hey, you. You’re supposed to sit in the back seat.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s the law. N——‘s ride in back.”

I said, “My friend, I believe that is an unjust law. If I were to sit in back I would be condoning injustice.” Continue reading

Ancestors Rise Up!

Gloria RichardsonThe files of Civil Rights elder Ruby Sales have opened and gifted us with stories of freedom fighters of yesteryear.  May their stories never be forgotten. This is a sample, with descriptions from Ruby:

The indomitable and courageous sister SNCC leader Gloria Richardson (right) of the Cambridge, MD movement during the Southern Freedom Movement standing up in all of her Black women soul force power to White police. As the debate rages around the nation about good of bad policing, this picture reminds us of their systemic roles of using violence and terrorism to maintain the social order of White supremacy. Lest we forget this picture reminds us of the courage and front line struggle of our sisters.

Gloria Richardson is still alive and in her 90’s.

circa early 1960’s Continue reading

A Pilgrimage of Belovedness

Ebenezer copy (1)By Tommy Airey

Way back in the wide-open fields of the Clinton years, the seed of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was planted in me during a semester with Professor Bill Tuttle at the University of Kansas. Way back then, I was attending Campus Crusade bible study on Wednesdays, drinking a 12-pack of beer on Fridays and going to an all-white Evangelical church on Sundays. My spiritual life was a complete circus. Way back then, I struggled to make the simple connection that Dr. King was a Christian and that his perspective on Jesus was completely different than what my white Evangelical mentors and heroes were pitching. Continue reading

His Faith Demanded It

ConeFrom James Cone’s The Cross and The Lynching Tree (2013):

Just as Jesus knew he could be executed when he went to Jerusalem, Martin Luther King, Jr., knew that threats against his life could be realized in Memphis.  Like Jesus’ disciples who rejected the idea that his mission entailed his suffering and death (Mk 8:31-32), nearly everyone in King’s organization vigorously opposed his journey to Memphis, not only because of the dangers but because of the need to focus on the coming Poor People’s Campaign in Washington.  But King, like Jesus, felt he had no choice: he had to go to Memphis and aid the garbage workers in their struggle for dignity, better wages, and a safer work place.  He had to go because his faith demanded it.

The Malady of Militarism

Weldon

Rev. Weldon Nisly, arrested a few years ago at a nonviolent protest on Good Friday in Seattle, WA

By Weldon Nisly, originally posted in Hospitality (April 2017), the newsletter of Atlanta’s Open Door Community

Militarism is “a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit” revealing “America is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” With this prophetic proclamation a half century ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., named the sin-sickness of America’s warring violence. Dr. King was preaching to America from the Riverside Church pulpit in New York on April 4, 1967.

On that consequential night fifty years ago, Dr. King declared, “A time comes when silence is betrayal,” and boldly revealed the interconnected violence of America’s “giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism.” His sermon forever connected civil rights, poverty, and war arising from a malady deep within the American soul and psyche. Continue reading

Treacherous Machinations Around the Globe

WalkerAfter George W. Bush was elected in 2000, Alice Walker said in an interview: “I know that Martin Luther King would have felt very saddened because he gave his life for a very much larger vision.” During the Obama years, Walker was asked in an interview with an Israeli publication what Dr. King would have thought of Obama’s America and what should be done to fulfill his vision.   This was her response:

Martin Luther King was a leader, a person of conviction.  He would find it difficult to comprehend, as I do, why Obama is incapable of standing up to Israel and why, whenever he tries, he soon collapses again.  I believe Obama started out in the presidency as a good and decent person.  With much ambition, but that is not a crime.  However, killing people in distant lands by drone attack is, in my opinion, a crime.  Condoning Israel’s crimes makes him an enabler of criminal behavior and complicit in the misery Israel causes to poor and frightened people.  This is almost unbearable to face, because I, like so many others, love Barack.  But we have lost him to the US government machine that is only running true to course in its treacherous machinations around the globe.  Continue reading