My Memories of Resurrection City 45 Years Ago

by Carlos Raul Dufflar
May 12, 2013

Only good news has transmitted at this moment. Before I emerge from the valley of science after 45 years in a series of hero tales of 5000 residents of Resurrection City as I was laughing vividly in which I will tell my son and my family and friends that is filled by a poetic eye.

It was the Sixties right after high school that life took its turn into the wings of consciousness from happiness to sadness like a path that your heart says yes to human rights, justice, and democracy, and peace and hell-no to war.

From the pages of the psalms of Dr. Martin Luther King who said if you can’t fly, you can run, and if you can’t run, then you can walk, and if you can’t walk, then you can crawl.

From the universal hardship of poverty sunflowers were laid as we marched in a memorial tribute to the last words of Dr. Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Hotel at Memphis, Tennessee. The people gather on there towards Mark, Mississippi. From our sorrows we listen to our hearts. We sang our love and our fire and we started the Poor People’s Campaign from coast to coast, mule wagons and on foot, buses, trucks, and cars. The Freedom Train were the first ones who were the foundation of Resurrection City. The Southern Caravan, the Western Caravan, and the Midwest Caravan, the Northeastern Caravan, and the Indian Trails of Seattle and the Appalachia. From the wretched of the earth, faces of our nation from the First Nation on the reservations, the Afro-Americans from the villages and urban centers, the Chicanos from the barrios, Puerto Ricans from the urban barrios, and poor Appalachians from the mountains.

Along the way to the Capitol we were beaten and arrested. We created the National Chorus of the Poor. People sharing their lives and their culture as we finally made it and build Resurrection City. The many race soul center and the Hungry Wall tell it like it is. The Coretta King Day Care Center and God’s Eyes Bakery and the medical center and the dental center. City Hall in which Jesse Jackson became our mayor. From the ashes we started and asked permission to use the land from our great Indian brothers and sisters. We made houses out of plywood and plastic. It was warm, dry, a community of our own. Without landlords, without jails, and without police brutality.

From the rain and mud and cold that came on Spring, from our leaders like Dr. Abernathy, Hosea Williams, Chief Big Snake, Cornbread Gibbons, Collin Harris, Peggy Terry, Robert Fulcher, Corky Gonzales and Reies Tijerina. Every morning we would continue our living demonstration in every department of government for our human rights against violence and starvation, unemployment, and slum housing, poor education, and the end to the war in Vietnam.

Within our circle of the University of the Poor, we shared history, politics, and economics from the elders who taught us from the school of life.

Since I was only 18 years old, I was growing fond of the light which gave us eyes and our intellect as the sources of wisdom that can have no counter-wisdom. Life was no social paradise but we took advantage of the light of the day before the night set in. Like a sign of the past, Eric the photographer from 111th Street saw me in front of the house and greeted me, “Qué pasa, Carlos?” and I answered “In the struggle.”

So we started walking and talking through the city looking at the people playing chess and dominoes and having their haircuts and listening to music. So Eric stopped just before we got to the food tent and he said, “Mira, Carlos, you had a lot of courage and love. But do you need rest and a comfortable bed for a few nights?”

I thought about it for a few minutes and answered right back, “No, but Eric, wait until Wednesday, the 19th of June, on Solidarity Day, after the march, and I will stay with you, ok?

“Ok, Carlito, bueno.”

And then Coretta Scott King and Martha Grass and Reies Tijerina and Dr. Abernathy and many others that spoke with a hundred thousand people in the rally in our support at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Like a thousand from New York for a special celebration for Puerto Rican Day.

So when the rally ended, I met Eric. We walked just about a few blocks and I stayed with him. So I woke up the next morning, had some breakfast, and Eric gave me The Washington Post to read. “Did you hear what happened?”

“No.”

“The police threw tear gas at Resurrection City. Today, Thursday.”

Struggle brings the most unlikely things within reach. Four days passed, and the Pharaoh with his one thousand blue dragons stormed our home with the great invasion of tear gas and mass police brutality and mass arrests of innocent women, children, young people, and men. And the destruction of Resurrection City. From May 13 to June 24 of 1968, you must be ready to confront difficulty to realize your hope.

Our history could not be written until our struggle continues. From the heart of Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, pages of history were revealed that the poor people spoke and the poor people went to jail to set America free. And that poor people hungry for bread on the table and righteousness in the land from the passages of my past that fire the light of the call that reached my heart and soul. The Rev. C.D. Witherspoon of the Baltimore chapter of the SCLC and PPA and POP that called all of us veterans of the struggle, youth, and unions and people of consciousness to agitate for our struggle. On the 45th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign, we march from Baltimore to Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. From our drums and the wet rain that poured on us, and our love and courage that kept us strong, as Angel and Carlos read their poems in the platform on the 45th Anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign. Straight ahead.

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