The mule train: adult learning and the Poor People’s Campaign 1968

Hamilton, R. (2016) The mule train: adult learning and the Poor People’s Campaign 1968. Studies in the Education of Adults, 48(1), pp. 38-64.

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This article examines the neglected role of adult learning in the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) through a case study of a low-income group from Marks in Mississippi, regarded as the poorest town in America. Social movement theory and both Gramsci and Freire provide a conceptual framework for the study. Over 100 people travelled in May 1968 from Marks to Washington DC where they set up camp with thousands of others to campaign against poverty. Part of their journey was completed on wagons pulled by mules on what was known as the Mule Train. Before departure for Washington and on route, the Marks contingent, the majority of whom had little or no formal education, learned together in workshops, meetings and demonstrations. How and what they learned both individually and collectively provides fresh and unique insights into the impact and enduring legacy of the PPC. The article draws on primary source material including documents and interviews, and secondary sources. It is argued that those on the Mule Train were radicalised by what they learned together as poor people and that their presence also educated America. Further, the lost legacy of the Mule Train also has relevance for 21st century anti-poverty campaigners.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hamilton, Dr Robert
Authors: Hamilton, R.
College/School:University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division
Journal Name:Studies in the Education of Adults
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1478-9833
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
First Published:First published in Studies in the Education of Adults 48(1): 38-64
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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