March for Jobs



GUEST: Herman Schwartz, Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia who focuses his work on the intersection of politics, policy, and economics.


TOPIC: On this, the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, Professor Schwartz discusses the often overlooked message Martin Luther King brought to the nation that day: that the demonstration was about creating economic opportunities for people of color that would allow them access to the growing middle class. That message was even more explicit in the Poor People’s Campaign event in 1968, which of course Martin Luther King did not live to see happen. One particular excerpt:

Schwartz: “The 1968 march was, let us get into that stable, middle class existence: houses, jobs you can count on, jobs with benefits. Contrary to what King was asking for, which was a normalization of poor people’s life experience to that of the middle class, we have the reverse going on, which is a normalization of middle class America towards the experiences of the poor; which is high job insecurity, an inability to hang on to your house, and an inability to accumulate savings.”

Barefoot: “And so now the middle class, which we took decades to build, is being dismantled and is becoming the working poor.”

Schwartz: “Exactly. They’re becoming the working poor.”


ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE:  Wednesday, August 28, 2013.