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"All Labor Has Dignity" (King Legacy)


"All Labor Has Dignity" (King Legacy) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An unprecedented and timely collection of Dr. King’s speeches on labor rights and economic justice


People forget that Dr. King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform. As we struggle with massive unemployment, a staggering racial wealth gap, and the near collapse of a financial system that puts profits before people, King’s prophetic writings and speeches underscore his relevance for today. They help us imagine King anew: as a human rights leader whose commitment to unions and an end to poverty was a crucial part of his civil rights agenda.


Covering all the civil rights movement highlights—Montgomery, Albany, Birmingham, Selma, Chicago, and Memphis—award-winning historian Michael K. Honey introduces and traces King’s dream of economic equality. Gathered in one volume for the first time, the majority of these speeches will be new to most readers. The collection begins with King’s lectures to unions in the 1960s and includes his addresses during his Poor People’s Campaign, culminating with his momentous “Mountaintop” speech, delivered in support of striking black sanitation workers in Memphis. Unprecedented and timely, “All Labor Has Dignity” will more fully restore our understanding of King’s lasting vision of economic justice, bringing his demand for equality right into the present.


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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



Product Details

King, Martin Luther Jr
Beacon Press (MA)
Honey, Michael K.
King, Martin Luther
Martin Luther King, Jr.
King, Martin Luther, Jr.
General History
United States - 20th Century
African American Studies-Black Heritage
Edition Description:
Trade paper
King Legacy
Publication Date:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.65 in 0.775 lb

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