City Cafe

Before Occupy, There was Resurrection City

Credit SCLC records, MARBL, Emory University

An exhibit now at Emory University’s Schatten Gallery displays archival materials from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, focusing on the years after the assassination of its founding member, Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.

“And the Struggle Continues: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Fight for Social Change” highlights the variety of issues the group went on the champion in the late 1960s, ’70s and beyond—including poverty, healthcare, and drug addiction among others.

This story pays a visit to just one of the exhibit’s displays, focusing on the SCLC’s very first effort after King’s death in 1968: Resurrection City.

Unlike the marches and protests that came before, Resurrection City was set up like an actual citya shantytown, complete with classes for schoolchildren, governmental departments and a mayor. It attracted some 3,000 residents that summer of 1968, just two months after King was killed.

This bonus audio showcases the SCLC’s AIDS activism in the mid-1980s, at a time when a great deal of fear and stigma still surrounded the illness.

Web Bonus