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Mrs. King, Lowery Say Hunger Concern of Slain Civil Rights Leader

January 12, 1985

ATLANTA (AP) _ The widow of Martin Luther King Jr. and the president of the civil rights organization he founded said Saturday that poverty and hunger in America must be the target of those who follow his dream.

Coretta Scott King and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, spoke at a symposium at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Hunger and poverty are the focus of King Week activities at the center, celebrating the slain civil rights leader’s 56th birthday, which comes Tuesday.

″After we achieved the basic civil rights concerns, Martin said the most serious problem to be dealt with was in the area of poverty, deprivation, joblessness,″ said Mrs. King.

″If one has the right to live, one has the right to eat - that it the least,″ she said. ″God has put enough resources in this world, and there’s enough technology to make it happen.″

Mrs. King said that with millions hungry people in America and around the world, ″We felt very much that this year’s theme was the most appropriate theme we have ever had.″

Lowery said the fight against hunger is a moral issue, not just a technological or political one. And, he said, the civil rights movement must rejuvenate itself for that fight.

″We need a moral, born-again movement,″ Lowery said. ″It’s not the drought in the land that’s the factor; it’s the drought in the human spirit than enables us to tolerate hunger in the land.″

Lowery attacked what he called the ″insidious insensitivity that makes us walk by those who are suffering almost every day.″

And he charged that with millions of Americans without jobs, food or proper shelter, President Reagan appeals to an ″invidious individualism″ that encourages Americans to think only of themselves and their families, and not the less fortunate.

″We’re severely hampered by the nation’s budget priorities,″ Mrs. King added. ″We spend billions of dollars for weapons that can destroy our world family, instead of spending those billions of dollars on feeding our world family.″

Mrs. King said the King Center will serve as a clearinghouse for information and ″action strategies″ in the fight on poverty.

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