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When Martin Luther King Jr. Took His Fight Into the North, and Saw a New Level of Hatred

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When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped out of his car on Aug. 5, 1966, in his usual dark suit and polished shoes, he was met by a line of police and a mob of angry white people. His struggle hadn’t gotten easier.

The US clergyman and civil rights leader Martin Luther King addresses, 29 March 1966 in Paris' Sport Palace the militants of the 'Movement for the Peace'. (Credit: /AFP/Getty Images)

The US clergyman and civil rights leader Martin Luther King addresses, 29 March 1966 in Paris’ Sport Palace the militants of the ‘Movement for the Peace’. (Credit: /AFP/Getty Images)

As the 37-year-old civil rights leader strode toward several hundred supporters, a stone sailed through the air and struck King, sending him to one knee. Aides shielded the Nobel laureate from bricks and bottles hurled by the furious crowd.

King had faced violence before. But this time, he wasn’t in the Jim Crow South. He was in Chicago.

Fifty years ago this January, King embarked on a less-remembered chapter from the final years of his life, a battle that ultimately went unfinished — a campaign against poverty and de facto segregation in the North that was met with institutional resistance, skepticism from other activists and open violence.

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