It was 1968, not long after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., when a young Jesse Jackson, still emotionally devastated by his mentor’s death, stood amid a crowded tent city. People here were desperate for food, shelter and security.

Jackson, who was 27 at the time, had committed himself to continuing King’s poor people’s campaign to advocate for public accommodations and relief for the needy. He was there that day to give the people what he could. Money was in short supply, he said, and the people that had gathered around him were hungry for so much more than he could provide.

“They were the most rejected, the most impoverished, the most needy,” Jackson recalled. “I would look in peoples faces, they were looking to me and they wanted me to give them something, to say something. I had no more food to give them. I did not even have a bus ticket to get home. I couldn’t offer them any material.”

It was then that Jackson recalled the moment and the words that first came to his mind as he addressed them, a three-word refrain that would go on to change the way generations of African-Americans and poor people would see themselves

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