Operation Breadbasket: Urban Economic Justice Organizing during the Civil Rights Era: In 1962 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) launched Operation Breadbasket in Atlanta. According to King, ‘‘the fundamental premise of Breadbasket is a simple one. Negroes need not patronize a business which denies them jobs, or advancement [or] plain courtesy’’ (King, 11 July 1967). ‘‘Many retail businesses and consumer-goods industries,’’ King explained, ‘‘deplete the ghetto by selling to Negroes without returning to the community any of the proﬁts through fair hiring practices’’ (King, January 1967).
In his 1967 speech, “Where Do We Go From Here?”, Martin Luther King, Jr. said about the program: “And so Operation Breadbasket has a very simple program, but a powerful one. It simply says, “If you respect my dollar, you must respect my person.” It simply says that we will no longer spend our money where we can not get substantial jobs.”
Jesse Jackson, a young theological student in Chicago, was selected by King to run the national Operation Breadbasket efforts. This was the origin of his later Operation P.U.S.H.