The Story of God’s Eye Bakery

The Diggers at Resurrection City (Memories Passed on to Me)

By Ángel L. Martínez


In the "official" Digger chronology, the temporary autonomous installation at Resurrection City in May and June, 1968, known as God's Eye Bakery, is the third such Digger free bakery. Walt Reynolds, the electrical engineer who taught the Diggers to bake whole wheat bread at All Saints' Church in San Francisco, took his bread baking skills to Washington, DC, to set up the God's Eye Bakery. One of the many activists who occupied the National Mall during the six-week period in which Resurrection City existed was Carlos Raúl Dufflar. His son, Ángel Martinez, grew up listening to his father's stories of 1968. Now, after discovering the Digger web page with the history of the Free Bakery movement, Ángel has written the following account for the historical record. All we can say is muchas gracias, Ángel. And continue on with your obvious talent of capturing history in written accounts of the past.—ed.

In Spring 2020, Carlos Raúl Dufflar and I gave a presentation on the history of the original Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) and his experience in the encampment it established known as Resurrection City. By this time, it had been a series of several he had been doing since the 45th PPC Anniversary March from Baltimore to Washington, tracing the Route 1 of the Northern Caravan that brought Dufflar to the City in May 1968.

Five decades later, he was specially invited to tell the stories that he had told me through the years. Each time he was the original PPC’s live testament to the power of organizing, I was recalling as much as I could devour, besides hours of stories personally told to me. Now, it was going to be different, and not just because this took place soon after the plague had moved our gathering online.

Resurrection City, in West Potomac Park on the National Mall of Washington, DC, was at the center of the story we told. It was, as I have understood it, a community as well as an expression of political and cultural solidarity born on Mother’s Day, 1968. This City scared Congress, the White House, law enforcement, and corporate interests. Very early on the morning June 23, 1968, the residents were evicted with tear gas, bullets, other extreme violence, and mass arrests (over 370) by the FBI, US Army, military intelligence, DC National Guard, and DC Metropolitan Police. Many of the arrested were not released until July. To understand the depths of the government’s fears, especially in stark contrast to today, 20,000 Guard troops were ready to invade if they were to rebel.

As the City thrived, it attracted solidarity and support from innumerable organizations and movements. (To be certain, while it attracted religious groups that offered aid, the encampment hardly had any religious over [or under] tones that its name would have implied.) The Diggers were among the groups to answer the solidarity call.

At one point in our presentation, he had to step away from the screen. It was Q&A time and a question did emerge in that moment which I was confident enough to answer. It was my turn to talk about in particular about an amazing story that I have been told for years: the solidarity work of the Diggers at Resurrection City.

As I was telling the story, my response was smooth flowing because one of his most cherished memories of Resurrection City was the Diggers’ contribution to the city — God’s Eye Bakery — which was what we would call a central kitchen. The Bakery is a story I can never hear often enough, and has been told me enough times for me to confidently place the bakery at the center of life at the City.

Besides him, I had only heard about the Diggers in the documentary Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 20th Anniversary in 1988. The belief in everything people needed being provided for free was a principle that meshed well with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final struggle. In fact, the ethic certainly embodied that hope in the City. The difference was that he was a witness to the work of the Diggers.

Just as visceral as a symbol of Resurrection City as the sturdy, distinctive A-frame houses was bread baked fresh in coffee cans. (The cans, to remind younger audiences, were enormous compared to those commonly seen today, meaning more food to pass on the community.) To hear Dufflar tell it, God’s Eye Bakery was highly instrumental in the everyday life of the community. There was always a line each morning to receive a loaf. The warm bread provided every morning remains at the center of the memories as much as the houses and the seemingly endless rain.

Dufflar’s memories of his time there are, I have found, incomplete without giving a shout-out to the Diggers and God’s Eye Bakery. In fact, much of what I know about the Diggers comes from what he has related to me. He vividly remembers the bakery’s house, on which was painted, “BREAD — FREE FOREVER — GIVE US THIS DAY” with a coffee can bread image superimposed on it, and its picture preserved on The Digger Archives only adds to his warm memories. He is one more witness to what Walt Reynolds and his compas did for the City.

Above all, God’s Eye Bakery was more than just a people’s kitchen in that sense. The work they performed went much deeper. Poverty, in the economic sense, had many profound effects then that drove the creation of the original PPC. It is true even more now. What God’s Eye Bakery gave was more than just a staple food; the bread was a sign of major change in people’s lives. In Resurrection City, the solidarity aid and assistance were at the least life-improving, if not life-saving. As Dufflar told me, this was the first time that many of the City’s 5000 residents had ever eaten whole-wheat bread, let alone freshly made, let alone right out of coffee cans. The Bakery generated much enthusiasm in the encampment, again as Dufflar told me. Each day, residents either took home a loaf or had slices of it with butter, peanut butter, and/or jelly. No wonder, then, Dufflar said, “Everybody dug the Diggers!”

Daniel Cobb, writing on the Indigenous presence at Resurrection City, placed the bakery at the center of the story, too:

They visited often for planning sessions, rounds of freedom songs that “shook the heavens,” and social gatherings, or they would meet simply to eat hot, fresh coffee-can bread at God’s Eye Bakery. (Cobb, 176)

I could imagine those cylindrical loaves warming the spirit as well as the body. That is the power the Diggers had. The loaves showed why the Diggers and God’s Eye Bakery matter in the memory of Resurrection City. "From the bottom of my heart," Dufflar to this day offers thanks.



Daniel M. Cobb. Native Activism in Cold War America: The Struggle for Sovereignty. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2008.

See "Third Free Bakery (Resurrection City, 1968)" for an article from the Berkeley Barb (June 14, 1968).

Links to Poor People's Campaign References

Historical 1968 Movement

Wikipedia page on Poor People's Campaign (1968)

Current Groups (2021)

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign

Poor People’s Embassy — Embajada de la Gente Pobre

Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival


Images borrowed from Wikipedia and Google Image Search.—ed.



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