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CDF traces its heritage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Poor People's Campaign in 1968. We continue Dr. King's prophetic call for justice for the poor.
In 1967, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York visited hungry children and families in the Mississippi Delta at the request of Mississippi attorney Marian Wright.
Kennedy was outraged by the depth of poverty in the Delta. He urged Miss Wright to tell Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to bring the poor to Washington to dramatize their plight.
At Miss Wright's urging, King worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to form the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. They planned a march on Washington, D.C. to call for an economic bill of rights for the poor while demonstrations took place around the country.
Tragically, both King and Kennedy were assassinated that year before the campaign could be launched, but the King family and the SCLC went ahead with the campaign in his honor.
Thousands of people from all over the country camped on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. They called their camp "Resurrection City." At its peak, the camp held approximately 7,000 people.
Marian Wright married Mr. Peter Edelman, now a professor at Georgetown Law School. She then continued work on the Poor People's Campaign after the assassinations of King and Kennedy. She helped form the Washington Research Project (WRP). The WRP would later serve as the parent body for CDF.