City of Hope: Resurrection City and the 1968 Poor People's Campaign

December 15, 2017 – December 2018

Constructing tents. Resurrection City, Washington, D.C., 1968
Photograph by Robert Houston, American, born 1935

National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

2nd Floor, East, NMAAHC Gallery at the National Museum of American History Floor Plan

City of Hope commemorates the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s daring vision to end poverty in the United States. With newly discovered photographs and videos, the exhibition encourages visitors to explore this important chapter in U.S. history.

As the United States emerged in the 1960s as a global model of wealth and democracy, an estimated 35 million Americans lived in poverty. From the elderly and underemployed to children and persons with disabilities, poverty affected people of every race, age, and region. Although President Lyndon B. Johnson had declared a “war on poverty” in 1964, social inequalities and unequal access to opportunities left many Americans struggling.

In response, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy, organized a Poor People’s Campaign to confront poverty as a national human rights issue. As a multiethnic movement, the six-week, live-in demonstration in Washington, D.C., attracted protesters nationwide to mark a new era in American history.