Solidarity Now! 1968 Poor People's Campaign opens Saturday, July 1, in the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Exhibition Hall of the Two Mississippi Museums, a Smithsonian Affiliate. This Smithsonian traveling exhibit explores a pivotal grassroots movement of the civil rights era: the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968.
Based on the original exhibition created by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, this exhibit explores the six-week protest community in Washington D.C. that called the nation’s attention to the effects of poverty on millions of Americans. Visitors will experience photographs, artifacts, documentaries, ambient audio, and graphics in addition to an interactive video with interviews of campaign participants, a 3D-printed model of Resurrection City, and a map of the nationwide caravan routes.
The multiethnic movement drew people from across the nation, including African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, Puerto Ricans, Asian Americans and poor whites from Appalachia and rural communities. With newly found photographs and video content, the exhibit encourages visitors to discover this little-known chapter of the civil rights era.
“We look forward to having this unique Smithsonian exhibit at the Two Mississippi Museums,” said Katie Blount, director of Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH). “It will provide an interesting perspective on the history of poverty and economic inequality in America.”
Although the United States emerged as a global model of wealth and democracy in the 1960s, an estimated 25 million Americans still lived in poverty. While 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 the Poor People’s Campaign to confront poverty as a national human rights issue. A multi-ethnic movement, the six-week, live-in demonstration in Washington, D.C., called Resurrection City, attracted protesters from across the country to this first large-scale, nationally organized protest after the assassination of King.
The exhibition title is a reference to the Solidarity Day Rally, which was held on June 19, 1968. The rally at the Lincoln Memorial featured speeches by organizers and influencers as a continuation of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Solidarity Now! 1968 Poor People's Campaign is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It is supported by the CVS Health Foundation, a private foundation created by CVS Health to help people live healthier lives.
The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—Two Mississippi Museums—are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. The hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information call, 610-576-6580, visit the MDAH Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.