Interview with Marian Wright Edelman
QUESTION 33
HENRY HAMPTON:

One more time, starting with, did the idea of getting up in the morning and continuing on with the work of those who had left us in '68. So at the end of '68 you were talking about getting up in the morning. Can you tell me about that one more time?

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN:

Well, at the end of '68 the issue was how do we carry on from here? How do we continue the work of, of Martin and, and what had begun in the Civil Rights Movement but needed, ah, to have social and economic underpinnings. How do we continue to try to respond to the calls of the Poor People's Campaign, ah, and so we created new organizations, developed new strategies, ah, new modes of advocacy, ah, to try to begin to build paths, ah, to get the country to respond to the, to the social and economic needs of, ah, of its poor. Very hard with the war. Very hard with the northern White backlash. Very hard with the violence, because again, we tend to blur the violence of the Vietnam war, which was mostly White kids and the riots which came in reaction to the violence of, of those who took the lives of Martin and, and Robert Kennedy. So it was very hard to be heard. But you know the fallow periods and one has to remember the seasons, ah, that in the barest points of winter, one really does have to remember that leaves will come again in the spring, ah, and so those spring leaves and buds were beginning to blossom now, ah, in a new, I think, recognition by the country that it is in deep trouble, that the messages of Martin twenty years ago are the messages that we have still got to answer today. Ah, but I think paradoxically, again the Reagan years, which have been very hard years, assaults on the national role in protecting the poor and the minority groups has set the stage for the 1990s because this country will have to confront the issues of investing in its children and families if it is going to preserve its future. Sorry, I don't have much eloquence left there in that but for whatever reason it feels very circuitous, ah, to me.


MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN:

What was his question?