MARCH 18, 1968

The Mule Train caravan left Marks, Miss., for the nation’s capital on May 13 to participate in the Poor People’s Campaign. Credit: Bob Daugherty/AP

Martin Luther King Jr. wept at what he saw in Marks, Mississippi. He came as part of his Poor People’s Campaign, visiting impoverished places in the nation. Tears came to his eyes when he saw a teacher slicing a single apple to feed lunch to students, along with crackers. He also saw hundreds of Black children walking the street without shoes. 

King encouraged those in Marks and the rest of the poor across the nation to come with him to Washington, D.C., so they could force the nation’s leaders to think about those affected by poverty. 

“We ought to come in mule carts, in old trucks, any kind of transportation people can get their hands on,” he said. “People ought to come to Washington, sit down if necessary in the middle of the street and say, ‘We are here; we are poor; we don’t have any money; you have made us this way … and we’ve come to stay until you do something about it.’”

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.