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Washington Jewish Council Approves Support of Poor Peoples March

April 1, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington sent today to its affiliated organizations an unprecedented resolution endorsing the aims of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Poor Peoples March” on Washington and offering shelter, food, medical services and other support to the demonstration, which will begin in April.

The action followed an approving vote by the JCC delegate assembly in which the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and two individuals belonging to the Assembly abstained after vigorous debate on the proposal. Supporters stressed that Jewish communal cooperation with the demonstrators would strengthen Negro advocates of non-violence and conform to Judaic principles of social justice. Dr. Isaac Franck, JCC executive director, said the “most sensible course of action” was to have the responsible community involved and that it was hoped such cooperation would channel the demonstration in a constructive direction.

Opponents of the resolution contended that Dr. King was allegedly unable to prevent racial violence this week in Memphis, Tenn., and that the Jewish community should consider such a decision carefully because of the dangers of involvement in a potentially unlawful disturbance. The resolution was submitted to the Assembly because it was unprecedented.

In notifying the affiliates of the action, the JCC asked them to cooperate with the campaign organizers. A number of synagogues in the area have already started collecting food for the demonstrators, who are coming from all parts of the nation for the event, which may continue for two or three months. The proposals was initially approved by the Inter-religious Committee on Race Relations. Demonstration organizers have warned of civil disobedience to dramatize the plight of the poor, if action is not taken to meet their demands.

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