Leaders Are Only as Strong as the Citizens Who Raise Their Voices

By Marian Wright Edelman 11-06-2008

On the day he died, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called his mother to give her his next Sunday's sermon title. It was "Why America May Go to Hell." Calling for a Poor People's Campaign in the last year of his life to end the moral and social stain of 25.4 million poor people in rich America, including 11 million poor children, he warned that "America is going to hell if we don't use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all of God's children to have the basic necessities of life." Dr. King understood that political and civil rights without economic rights did not add up to justice; that angry urban youths and unemployed and despairing rural and urban fathers and mothers needed jobs, not sermons or scolding; and that hope with meat on its bones

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