Resurrection City

Labor Struggles/History

In this space, which was at the time a grassy field, starting on May 21st, 1968, thousands of people constructed a shantytown called “Resurrection City” as part of the Poor People’s Campaign of Martin Luther King’s SCLC shortly after his assassination. The campaign was organized to push for an Economic Bill of Rights. Thousands of people lived in Resurrection City and in some ways it resembled other cities. Gordon Mantler writes: “Resurrection City also became a community with all of the tensions that any society contains: hard work and idleness, order and turmoil, punishment and redemption. Businesses flourished inside the tent city’s walls, as did street crime. Older men informally talked politics while playing checkers or having their hair cut; others argued in more formal courses and workshops.” There were unusual problems but there was also unusual dignity. Residents called it “the city where you don’t pay tax-es, where there’s no police brutality and you don’t go to jail.” Resurrection City had its own zip code, a university, a “Soul Tent”, a psychiatrist, and a city hall. It lasted for 6 weeks.
- Fhar Miess




Northwest Washington

1455 Pennsylvania Ave NW

DC Labor Map

Welcome to the DC Labor Map! Here you can find both current and historic labor sites in Washington, DC, including union hotels, restaurants, international and local union organizations, labor art and historic labor sites. You can use it for an online virtual tour of DC labor, or to plan your visit to our nation’s capital.
CLICK ON "LEGEND" at right to view categories; TO CHOOSE A SPECIFIC CATEGORY just click on it and only those sites will be shown.
We welcome your comments and suggestions: click on the “comments” tab at the bottom of the map. The DC Labor Map is a project of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO: primary research was done by Chris Garlock, Jon Garlock and Lisa Garlock; contributors include: Saul Schniderman, Peter Winch and Fhar Miess.