Interview with Marian Wright Edelman

Resurrection City is starting and Ralph Abernathy has hit the first nail in, the mule trains are coming up, the buses have come up. What were your expectations?


You know I don't know what my expectations were for, for Resurrection City or for the Poor People's Campaign was other than simply people have got to hear, ah, we were all very hurt, ah, we had lost Dr. King. We were trying very hard, ah, to carry on. We were determined, ah, that the poor would be seen and heard. It was, it was such a struggle. I mean what I remember most about Resurrection City was the mud and the rain which came along with the poor people, how haphazard the, the logistics, were, ah, and how hard, but you know, it was, to go out and try to get them to be witnesses but how willing and open they always were in a very new setting, about going to do this. And I, and I always have felt somewhat schizophrenic, ah, because on one hand, going out to Resurrection City to identify and talk to witnesses, at the same time to try to craft what they said in a way in which Washington bureaucrats, ah, can hear it. So, I ran this, this back and forth thing from sort of living out at Resurrection City to sort of hear from them what was needed and, and then back to kind of the, the leaders where the Reverend Abernathy over at the Pit Hotel, which is today one of our worst homeless shelters in, in the District of Columbia where SCLC staff were staying, ah, where Dr. Abernathy was staying, ah, but it was, it was both, it was a struggle, ah, and the poor were so moving and again so determined, ah, to try to do what they could and so needy, ah, and so I guess I, my expectation was just to sort of get through the day and to get them heard and, and still always as today to try to see if the country can respond.