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Martin Luther King Jr. at Chicago Press Conference, January 1966

@ National Portrait Gallery


Martin Luther King Jr. announces plans for Chicago with (left to right) James Bevel, Al Raby, Andrew Young, and Walter FauntroyOn January 6, 1966, King convened a press conference in Chicago to unveil a blueprint for what he described as "the first significant Northern freedom movement ever attempted by major civil rights forces." A joint initiative of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Al Raby’s Chicago-based Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO), the "Chicago Plan" called for a multiphased grassroots effort "to bring about the unconditional surrender of forces dedicated to the creation and maintenance of slums." At the end of January, King moved into a squalid Chicago tenement that served as his home during what proved to be a difficult and largely unsuccessful campaign. Efforts aimed at ghetto housing reform were thwarted by Mayor Richard Daley, who claimed his city was already addressing the problem. That summer, when King led marches through white suburban neighborhoods to press for fair housing, those demonstrations met with fierce and often violent opposition.
Gelatin Silver Print
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Ann M. Shumard in memory of Sylvanus Tucker
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National Portrait Gallery

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Smithsonian Institution