MAY 11, 1968

Five-year-old Veronica Pitt touches a tattered poster of Martin Luther King Jr. as she and her 3-year-old brother Raythorn leave Resurrection City with other evacuees on May 24, 1968. Credit: AP: Bob Daugherty.

The Poor People’s Campaign arrived in Washington, D.C. A town called “Resurrection City” was erected as a tribute to the slain Martin Luther King Jr. 

King had conceived the campaign, which was led by his successor at the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Ralph David Abernathy. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson reached out to young Black men wanting vengeance for King’s assassination. 

“Jackson sat them down and said, ‘This is just not the way, brothers. It’s just not the way,”’ recalled Lenneal Henderson, then a student at the University of California at Berkeley. “He went further and said, ‘Look, you’ve got to pledge to me and to yourself that when you go back to wherever you live, before the year is out, you’re going to do two things to make a difference in your neighborhood.’ It was an impressive moment of leadership.”

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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.