In 1968 over 6,000 poor people from across colorlines camped out on the National Mall in Washington DC as part of the Poor People's Campaign, a movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King and others to abolish poverty. They formed a community they called "Resurrection City," with its own sewage system and zipcode. And they gathered at the Soul Tent, or Many Races Soul Center, to celebrate shared experiences of struggle through cultures and song of their people. They were diverse - black, white, Latinx, indigenous Asian, from Appalachia, the Bronx, California. And they all demanded Congress addressed the injustice of poverty.
50 years later, a new Poor People's Campaign is emerging. These are some of our stories. Some of us are with the campaign, and some of us are not - but are directly affected by the issues this campaign is about.
Soul Tent Stories is a listening project of the People's University, led by Anu Yadav in collaboration with the DC Public Libraries, BloomBars, the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice and residents of Washington, DC. Inspired by the social media phenomenon Humans of New York, Soul Tent Stories is the research phase of a larger multi-year theater project on how we heal from racism and poverty.
Credits: Photos and interviews by Anu Yadav. Audio editing by Laurie Stern. Recording support by Selina Musuta. Transcription support by Alina Maldonado, Victor Benitez, Selina Musuta and Temi. Web design support by Josh Gamma. Additional thanks to Charon Hribar, Nic Lacetti, Manuel Mendez, Nicholas Petr, Micah Powell and Colleen Wessel-McCoy. This project is supported in part by the DC Public Libraries and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.