26 may 1968 & ebenezer united methodist church supports poor people's campaign during 130th anniversary
#OTD Sunday 26 May 1968 The Ebenezer United Methodist Church (400 D St SE), pastored by Rev. John B. Dyson, continued its support of the Poor People's Campaign (PPC). May 1968 was also its 130th anniversary.
On 12 May, Ebenezer welcomed PPC participants into the church for the second Mother's Day rally. Speakers included Juanita Abernathy, SCLC member and PPC activist; Ella Baker, MFDP, SCLC, SNCC strategist & organizer; and Cliff Hill, chair of the Oklahoma Association of Creek and Seminole Indians. They spoke to 75 PPC participants and the 100 Washingtonians who welcomed them to the city.
Juanita Abernathy told the audience:
"You will face harassment and intimidation when you return home to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. We must stick together more solidly when the time comes to return home."
Ella Baker told the audience:
"This is just the beginning, the first step in a long walk. I have sat through hundreds of meetings like this. I have heard the calls and I have sensed the enthusiasm such as you show here. You need more than enthusiasm. You need knowledge to find out what it takes to get action. The only way to beat this rap (poverty) is for people (of all races) to work together for themselves. We need to spend a little less time feeling good and more time digging deep for answers."
Cliff Hill told the audience:
"Congressmen are saying that the Mall will be desecrated. These people have desecrated our burial grounds all over the country."
Your comments are welcome below. Are/were you, a family member or neighbor a member of Ebenezer United Methodist Church? Do you remember Rev. Dyson? Do you remember the Mother's Day rally? Do you have photographs and other ephemera from Ebenezer? church fans? bulletins? funeral programs? tithing envelopes? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy of DC Public Library Special Collections, Evening Star Photo Collection, Ebenezer UMC--Churches folder. Photographer unknown. Photo of Cliff Hill, courtesy of DC Public Library Special Collections, Evening Star Photo Collection, Poor People's Campaign. Owen Duvall, photographer.
"Young Builders Get Sobering Advice," by Ernest Holsendolph, Evening Star, 13 May 1968.
Author conversation with Sam Ford, Ebenezer UMC member, 31 May 2017.
The Ebenezer United Methodist Church is celebrating its 180th anniversary.
Click here for post on Ella Baker in DC.