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City of Hope: Resurrection City and the 1968 Poor People's Campaign

A view of the front of the City of Hope exhibition. Graphics show a bus with protesters and a video shows a crowd in Washington, D.C.

An exhibition from the National Museum of African American History and Culture, City of Hope commemorates the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s daring vision to end poverty in the United States. With newly discovered photographs and videos, the exhibition encourages visitors to explore this important chapter in U.S. history.

As the United States emerged in the 1960s as a global model of wealth and democracy, an estimated 35 million Americans lived in poverty. From the elderly and underemployed to children and persons with disabilities, poverty affected people of every race, age, and region. Although President Lyndon B. Johnson had declared a “war on poverty” in 1964, social inequalities and unequal access to opportunities left many Americans struggling.

In response, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy, organized a Poor People’s Campaign to confront poverty as a national human rights issue. As a multiethnic movement, the six-week, live-in demonstration in Washington, D.C., attracted protesters nationwide to mark a new era in American history.