Black, Brown, and Poor: The Poor People's Campaign and Its Legacies


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


United States History


Based upon archival material, oral histories, Federal Bureau of Investigation files, and media accounts, this study argues that the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) of 1968 was not the tragic end of the civil rights era, but instead an important turning point for grassroots organizing in the late 1960s. Placed in a context broader than the modern African American freedom struggle, the campaign sparked a tentative but serious conversation among activists over how to organize effectively across racial and ethnic lines. It also helped the less high-profile struggles involved, such as the Chicano and welfare rights movements, find their own voices on the national scene by strengthening intra-ethnic networks and heightening the sophistication of their organizing strategies and power analysis.