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Power to the PoorBlack-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974$
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Gordon K. Mantler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780807838518

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469608068_Mantler

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Race and Resurrection City

Race and Resurrection City

(p.121) 5 Race and Resurrection City
Power to the Poor

Gordon K. Mantler

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows how the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4 in Memphis threatened to disrupt not just fragile black-white relations but most of what he had sought in the last months of his life—new alliances, increased public sympathy toward the poor, and a renewed dedication to nonviolent strategy. In the days that followed, black anger and frustration boiled over in more than a hundred cities. Of course, the mistrust and rage of African Americans toward whites and the “system” had translated into civil disorders every spring and summer since Harlem erupted in 1964. King's death, however, compounded that anger and frustration. While less deadly than Watts and Detroit, the unrest of April 1968 touched more cities and produced more property damage, arrests, and injuries than any other time in the 1960s.

Keywords:   assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr., Memphis, black-white relations, nonviolent strategy, black anger

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