MLK Son: We Need Cabinet Post for Poverty

40 years later, much work remains, he says
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 7:28 AM CDT
Martin Luther King Jr., second right, and aides Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson Jr., from left, and Ralph Abernathy in this April 3, 1968 file photo. King was shot dead on the balcony April 4, 1968.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The son of Martin Luther King says the nation can best commemorate the 40th anniversary of his father's assassination by taking concrete action to fight poverty. In an essay in the  Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Martin Luther King III called on the presidential candidates to commit to creating a Cabinet position, one that will "transcend the ceremonial." The poverty rate is 12%, same as 1968, and it now affects 36 million Americans.

"The challenge that consumed my father toward the end of his life has remained comfortably entrenched within the realm of rhetoric and not action," King wrote. He said a national office could use a new agency in New York City as a model and coordinate public, private, and civic efforts. He closed with his father's warning: "There is no such thing as a conscientious objector in the war on poverty."