Interview with Marian Wright Edelman
QUESTION 29
HENRY HAMPTON:

I'm looking for at the end of this year. And, um, I'll give you your first shot and then I'll remind you of some of the things you told me last time. But this is not a good year.

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN:

This is not a good year.

HENRY HAMPTON:

When you refer to Kennedy and to Dr. King at least on the phone which I think may be more effective in looking back at this. Can you tell me why it wasn't a good year with what happened and with all these things and what your resolve was. Where did it leave you at the same time? So tell me about looking over after Resurrection City, after that year.

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN:

Well, 1968 was a very complicated year. And obviously it was not a good year. We lost Martin King, ah, we lost Bobby Kennedy, ah, the Poor People's Campaign went away in somewhat disarray. The country had not responded, we were, it was the close of the first era of the '60s, too much, too many Americans tend to think of the '60s as monolithic, ah, for me it was the end of that period of non-violent, ah, struggle to get America to see and hear its poor and minority populations and so in one sense the Poor Peoples Campaign brought that to a close. And it was the beginning of the second part of the '60s which was the Vietnam war, the more violent period, the reaction to the loss of leadership and to the violence of the nation that destroyed the, the voices for sanity which were Bobby and Martin during that period. And so it was an important hiatus, ah, ah, for the country. But I think it's so important that we remember, you know, the good sides, the struggle, the extraordinary leadership that was exercised, ah, under leaders like Martin King and Bobby Kennedy but with those ordinary women all over America, those ordinary poor people all over America who had faith and who struggled to make American institutions respond in a non violent way. And that is my '60s and that is the dominant view that I have of the '60s.