News Today: A History of the Poor People's Campaign in Real Time
April 9, 2016 to June 25, 2016
Using news photographs, memorabilia, reconstructed objects, documentary fragments, and original documents, contemporary artist Kate Haug re-told the story of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last monumental social protest prior to his assassination. The exhibition featured images and objects culled from Haug’s extensive research in the archives of the Associated Press and the Library of Congress, which have not been seen together before, bringing to life the complex ambition of King’s vision.
King began organizing the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) in 1967 to unify America’s poor across class rather than racial lines, believing that economic parity was key to African American equality within the United States. The PPC culminated with a 3,000 person shanty town named Resurrection City, constructed on the National Mall in Washington DC. Resurrection City drew people from all over the country, was the nineteen sixties version of the 1932 Bonus March and a predecessor to “Occupy”. The exhibition time frame for this show mirrors many of the actual dates of the campaign, tracing the Resurrection City’s opening day to its final destruction.
The PPC echoes aspects of current social movements such as Black Lives Matter, Fight for Fifteen, and Our Walmart. In San Francisco, a city with one the highest rates of income inequality in the United States, King’s work asks pointed questions about the contemporary social contract and the democratic promise of America.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Kate Haug is a San Francisco-based artist, filmmaker, and writer. Her short films have been screened internationally at festivals including MOMA’s New Directors/New Films, the London International Film Festival, and the Sao Paolo International Short Film Festival. Haug holds an MFA from UC San Diego in critical theory and experimental film. She was curatorial fellow at the Whitney Independent Study program where she co-curated, “Dirt and Domesticity: Constructions of the Feminine” at the Whitney’s Philip Morris Branch in New York City. For several years, she taught in the Bay Area at University of San Francisco, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco State, and the College of San Mateo.