Biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Expanding the Movement
In 1966, Dr. King brought his struggle for equal rights to Chicago. On January 26, he and Coretta moved to an apartment in a rundown neighborhood
called North Lawndale. On March 12, Dr. King spoke to an audience of 12,000 at the Chicago Freedom Festival. Then, in June, his attention turned south again when James
H. Meredith was shot and wounded near Memphis, Tennessee, while marching for voting rights. On June 7, King and other civil rights leaders took Meredith's place and led the marchers
from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi. The march ended with 15,000 people rallying in front of the capitol at Jackson.
Dr. King was back
in Chicago on July 10 to launch an open-housing campaign at
Soldier's Field. On August 5, he led a march through Chicago's
southwest side to demonstrate the need for equal access to
decent housing for African Americans. White onlookers responded
by pelting Dr. King and the marchers with stones. Finally,
on December 20, Dr. King announced that the Federal Housing
Administration was funding a program to restore housing in
Dr. King publicly opposed the war in Vietnam as early as 1965. Other civil rights leaders advised him to focus on civil rights, so Dr. King
said little about the war for many months. Then, in 1967, Dr. King resumed his opposition to the war. He delivered anti-war speeches in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. But by
late 1967, he turned his attention from peace to poverty. On December 4, he embarked on the Poor People's Campaign, which called on the federal government to help poor African Americans.
Another way Dr. King tried to help the poor was to stand up for workers who demanded a living wage. On March 28, 1968, Dr. King arrived in
Memphis to lead 6,000 demonstrators in support of striking garbage collectors. The demonstration ended in fighting and looting. Dr. King was determined to hold a peaceful demonstration
in support of the strikers. So he returned to Memphis on April 3. At an evening rally, Dr. King gave perhaps his finest speech"I've
Been to the Mountaintop."