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Jesse Jackson: 'We Must Revive Dr. King's War on Poverty


"It's really desperate in these streets."

Rev.  Jesse Jackson honored civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. by spending a night with the homeless, and encouraging GOP candidates to address racial issues.

NBC Chicago reports that Jackson awoke Monday morning on the floor of a homeless shelter on the city's Near South Side. Jackson had visited and prayed with the homeless at the shelter Sunday night, telling NBC that the millions living in poverty in the United States is a moral disgrace and something that Dr. King understood and wanted to actively change.

"We must revive Dr. King's war on poverty and his Poor People's Campaign," Jackson told NBC Chicago. Calling Dr. King the true precursor to Occupy Wall Street, Jackson said "Our priorities have put us in a predicament where we have somehow cushioned those on the deck of the ship but those in the hull of the ship are in big trouble."

"It's really desperate in these streets."

While he is spending the day working with the poor, Jackson tells POLITICO he plans to tune in to the Fox News Channel/Wall Street Journal GOP debate from South Carolina Monday night.

“I want to hear from them — do they support Dr. King and the New South movement? Do they appreciate Dr. King’s legacy?” Jackson told POLITICO. “These candidates talk about free enterprise, but do they understand that there would be no Boeing plant in South Carolina if blacks and whites couldn’t work together? That you couldn’t have CNN with a segregated Atlanta, or a Disney World in a segregated Florida?”

“I’ve not seen one of them with African-Americans in their ads or going to an African-American church,” Jackson went on to say of the 2012 hopefuls. “It is an irony that they are having a debate on Martin Luther King Day, when all of them are running on state’s rights.”

Well, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich did in fact hold an event at an African-American Church in Jackson's homestate of South Carolina, where the candidate was met with some hostility. 

Jackson ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988.The civil-rights activist was born in Greenville, and was with Dr. King when he was assassinated in 1968.

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