An idea unleashed in history: Dr Martin Luther King Jr and the campaign to end poverty in America

Hamilton, R. (2018) An idea unleashed in history: Dr Martin Luther King Jr and the campaign to end poverty in America. Espacio, Tiempo y Educación, 5(1), pp. 13-40. (doi: 10.14516/ete.188)

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A range of learning opportunities helped to prepare and educate thousands of activists to participate in American civil rights movement campaigns in the 1960s. The adult learning approaches adopted by civil rights activists represented alternatives to conventional educational practices. Adult education was particularly significant in 1968, during what was to become Dr Martin Luther King’s final initiative, the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). The PPC saw thousands of poor people travel to Washington DC to protest against poverty and to demand legislation which would address economic injustice in the United States. The demonstrators occupied sacred space in Washington DC by building a temporary community, known as Resurrection City. The PPC drew from a rich legacy of adult learning in previous civil rights campaigns including voter registration initiatives. On the journey to the nation’s capital and in Resurrection City itself, Freedom Schools, workshops and demonstrations assisted the protesters to come together in coalition to challenge dominant hegemonic narratives concerning the causes, nature and scope of poverty. The PPC also performed an important public pedagogical role in dramatising the issue of poverty in the United States. Although ultimately unsuccessful in its aspiration to end economic injustice in America, the PPC undoubtedly laid the seeds for future anti-poverty activism. The article draws from five archives.

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:Espacio, Tiempo y Educación
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Espacio, Tiempo y Educación
First Published:First published in Espacio, Tiempo y Educación 5(1): 13-40
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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