Counter Punch: At the Bottom of the Empire: Homelessness, Housing Injustice, and Jesse Jackson’s Call to “Eradicate Poverty”

By DAVID MASCIOTRA Jan. 21, 2022

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

“The bottom of the Empire,” was Reverend Jesse Jackson’s description of who Martin Luther King was seeking to serve with his politically revolutionary ministry of the 1960s. Jackson was standing in the Reverend Martin Luther King Legacy Apartments on the West Side of Chicago to give a press conference on, what would have been, King’s 93rd birthday, January 15, 2022. Joining Jackson were representatives from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and the Illinois Union for the Homeless. The city of Chicago has transformed the lobby of the King Legacy apartment building into a small museum, showcasing the governmental-capital conspiracy that created the “ghetto.” Through decades of redlining and other discriminatory lending practices, public infrastructural programs to preserve segregation, police enforcement of residential borders, and “neighborhood covenants” among white homeowners and landlords to never sell or rent to Blacks, Northern cities became white fiefdoms.