4 june 1968 & ppc participants question authority of attorney general
#OTD 4 June 1968 Poor People's Campaign participants question authority and ethics of Attorney General Ramsey Clark (white) at the Justice Department (DOJ). Approximately 100 participants were allowed into a meeting with Clark and his colleagues, including Roger Wilkins, director of the Community Relations Service. DOJ staff was fortified by the 10 U.S. marshals standing behind them., as well as the dozens of police officers standing guard outside of the DOJ.
In the photo above, Lola May Brooks, who traveled to Resurrection City from Sunflower, MS, pointed to Clark and reportedly stated:
"You think because you're white, you're free. But you aren't any more free that us. If you have justice, we're going to have it too. And if we don't have it, you better be gone."
Rodolfo Corky Gonzales, one of the leaders of Chicano movements, standing in line behind Brooks in the above photo, reportedly stated:
"We didn't come here to be patronized..... We didn't come here to be polite."
Rev. James Groppi, a white priest from Milwaukee, reportedly stated:
"If 500 members of the Daughters of the American Revolution had been outside, you would have accepted them. But somehow the poor are second-class citizens."
Your comments are welcome below. Did you, a family member or neighbor attend the meeting with the Attorney General? Do you recognize anyone in the photo? Do you remember reading about the protest? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy of DC Public Library Special Collections, Poor People's Campaign. Ken Heinen, photographer.
Gordon Mantler, Power to the Poor: Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974. UNC Press, 2013.
Evening Star, 5 June 1968, p. C5.