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"all Labor Has Dignity"


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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Editor's note

Part I
Forging a Civil Rights-Labor Alliance in the Shadow of the Cold War

Chapter 1
" A look to the future"
-Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Highlander Folk School, Monteagle, Tennessee, September 2, 1957

Chapter 2
" It is a dark day indeed when men cannot work to implement the ideal of brotherhood without being labeled communist."
- Statement of Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in defense of the United Packinghouse Workers Union of America, Atlanta, Georgia, June 11, 1959

Chapter 3
" We, the Negro people and labor . . . inevitably will sow the seeds of liberalism."
- Twenty-fifth Anniversary Dinner, United Automobile Workers Union, Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, April 27, 1961

Chapter 4
If the Negro Wins, Labor Wins
- AFL-CIO Fourth Constitutional Convention, Americana Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida, December 11, 1961

Chapter 5
"I am in one of those houses of labor to which I come not to criticize, but to praise."
- Thirteenth Convention, United Packinghouse Workers Union of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 21, 1962

Chapter 6
"There are three major social evils . . . the evil of war, the evil of economic injustice, and the evil of racial injustice."
- District 65 Convention, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Laurels Country Club, Monticello, New York, September 8, 1962

Chapter 7
"Industry knows only two types of workers who, in years past, were brought frequently to their jobs in chains."
- Twenty-fifth Anniversary Dinner, National Maritime Union, Americana Hotel, New York City, October 23, 1962

Chapter 8
"Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy."
- Detroit March for Civil Rights, Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963

Chapter 9
"The unresolved race question"
- Thirtieth Anniversary of District 65, RWDSU, Madison Square Garden, New York City, October 23, 1963

part II
Standing at the Crossroads: Race, Labor, War, and Poverty

Chapter 10
"The explosion in Watts reminded us all that the northern ghettos are the prisons of forgotten men."
- District 65, RWDSU, New York City, September 18, 1965

Chapter 11
"Labor cannot stand still long or it will slip backward."
- Illinois State Convention AFL-CIO, Springfield, Illinois, October 7, 1965

Chapter 12
Civil Rights at the Crossroads
- Shop Stewards of Local 815, Teamsters, and the Allied Trades Council, Americana Hotel, New York City, May 2, 1967

Chapter 13
Domestic Impact of the War in Vietnam
- National Labor Leadership Assembly for Peace, Chicago, Illinois, November 11, 1967

Part III
Down Jericho Road: The Poor People's Campaign and Memphis Strike

Chapter 14
"The other America"
- Local 1199 Salute to Freedom, Hunter College, New York City, March 10, 1968

Chapter 15
"All labor has dignity."
- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) mass meeting, Memphis Sanitation Strike, Bishop Charles Mason Temple, Church of God in Christ, Memphis, Tennessee, March 18, 1968

Chapter 16
To the Mountaintop: "Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness."
- AFSCME mass meeting, Memphis Sanitation Strike, Bishop Charles Mason Temple, Church of God in Christ, Memphis, Tennessee, April 3, 1968

Epilogue: king and labor
Appendix: a note on the speeches

About the Author

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), Nobel Peace Prize laureate and architect of the nonviolent civil rights movement, was among the twentieth century's most influential figures. One of the greatest orators in U.S. history, King is the author of several books, including Stride Toward Freedom- The Montgomery Story, The Trumpet of Conscience, Why We Can't Wait, and Where Do We Go from Here- Chaos or Community? His speeches, sermons, and writings are inspirational and timeless. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Michael K. Honey, a former Southern civil rights and civil liberties organizer, is professor of labor ethnic and gender studies and American history, and the Haley Professor of Humanities, at the University of Washington-Tacoma. The author of three books on labor and civil rights history, including Going Down Jericho Road- The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign, he lives in Tacoma.


"Thanks to Michael Honey's meticulous editing and the inclusion of rarely heard audio, we can finally grasp the depth of the Rev. Martin Luther King's commitment to Americans as workers."-Nell Irvin Painter, author of The History of White People

"This is a more complex King than we celebrate every January, forever frozen on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial delivering his 'I Have a Dream Speech.'"-Eric Foner

"Not just a testament to his rhetorical legacy-it is a call to action.-Richard L. Trumka, president, AFL-CIO

"This is more than a compelling and unprecedented collection of speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. Through thoughtful introductions to each and every speech, Honey sets the stage for the reader, proving without a doubt that Dr. King was among the greatest labor leaders of the 20th century and that his message continues to resonate powerfully in our age."-Bill Fletcher, Jr., Editorial Board,; co-founder, Center for Labor Renewal; Board Chairperson, International Labor Rights

"Thanks to Michael Honey''s meticulous editing and the inclusion of rarely heard audio, we can finally grasp the depth of the Reverend Martin Luther King''s commitment to Americans as workers. Now, more than ever, his insights show us the way of transformation from consumers divided by race and ethnicity into an active, united citizenry."-Nell Irvin Painter, author of The History of White People and Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, Princeton University

"Michael Honey, a distinguished scholar of labor and African-American History, has done a great service by gathering Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speeches on labor, may of them previously unknown. He brings to life the King who from the outset of his public career insisted that 'the evil of economic injustice' must be combated along with racial inequality, and who saw the effort to eliminate poverty as a natural outgrowth of the civil rights struggle. This is a more complex King than we celebrate every January, forever frozen on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial delivering his 'I Have a Dream Speech.' King's dream called for nothing less than a radical restructuring of American economic life."-Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University

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