King had faced violence before. But this time, he wasn't in the Jim Crow South. He was in Chicago.
"I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hateful as I've seen here in Chicago," King told reporters that day, stripping off his tie and vowing to continue demonstrating. "Yes, it's definitely a closed society. We're going to make it an open society."
Announcing on Jan. 7, 1966, "the first significant Northern freedom movement ever attempted by major civil rights forces," King said Chicago would be the first front in a campaign for justice against the "involuntary enslavement" of blacks in Northern slums.
King's battle against economic inequality, which historians say improved conditions for some black Chicagoans, but not all.
"There has been and hasn't been change; it depends on how you look at it," said Timuel D. Black, a 97-year-old Chicago historian and activist who knew King and protested with him. For middle-class African Americans, "it made desirable housing and schools more accessible and available."
"will be to bring about the unconditional surrender of forces dedicated to the creation and maintenance of slums and ultimately make slums a moral and financial liability upon the whole community."
Instead of focusing on narrow targets such as lunch counters or buses, the Chicago Freedom Movement would fight everything: slumlords, realtors and Mayor Richard J. Daley's Democratic machine.
Demonstrators inspired by King advanced peacefully into white neighborhoods
"swastikas bloomed in Chicago parks like misbegotten weeds,"