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The Dignity Museum shares stories of people living in poverty (Faith & Leadership)

For 33 days in 2018, the Rev. Terence Lester walked through the South. He was in a constant state of stress and anxiety.

Some truck drivers tried to run him off the road; others followed him closely for miles as he walked — mostly alone — 386 miles from Atlanta, Georgia, to Memphis, Tennessee.

The walk, called the March Against Poverty 2018 (MAP18), commemorated the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Imagine almost being in a car accident — bracing yourself for impact. That is how I felt every second of that walk,” said Lester, who is black. “Confederate flags on decals or displayed proudly on automobiles and in yards. Being called the N-word.”

In addition to being afraid, Lester was frustrated; many of the people who threatened him were the people he was marching for — men, women and children living in or near poverty.

After MAP18, Lester decided to turn his experience into a new project called the Dignity Museum.

Housed in a 40-foot shipping container purchased through the generosity of anonymous donors, the Dignity Museum is a traveling exhibit that offers visitors an immersive experience of what it’s like to live in poverty.