Rev. Jackson Spends Night at Shelter for MLK Day

Rev. Jesse Jackson called Martin Luther King Jr. the true precursor to Occupy Wall Street

By Lisa Balde
|  Monday, Jan 16, 2012  |  Updated 8:21 AM CDT
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Rev. Jesse Jackson spent Sunday night visiting and praying with residents at the Pacific Garden Mission.

Rev. Jesse Jackson spent Sunday night visiting and praying with residents at the Pacific Garden Mission.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by waking up Monday on the floor of a Chicago homeless shelter.

Jackson visited and prayed Sunday night with residents at the Pacific Garden Mission on the city's Near South Side. Jackson said the millions living in poverty in the United States is a moral disgrace, something he said King understood and wanted to actively change.

"We must revive Dr. King's war on poverty and his Poor People's Campaign," Jackson told NBCChicago, noting 850,000 Cook County residents are food insecure and 12,000 Chicago school children are homeless.

One of King's last major efforts before his death was to organize a campaign for the poor in Washington D.C., Jackson said. The movement called on President Lyndon Johnson and Congress to help poor residents get jobs and health care.

"Father King says we have extremes of wealth for a very few ... and nothing left for the poor," said Jackson, calling King the true precursor to Occupy Wall Street.

These days, Jackson said, government officials need to do more to turn the tide.

"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," he said. "It's really desperate in these streets."

About 1,000 people were at the mission Sunday, Jackson said, including multiple working poor.

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