Dr. King and the Dignity of Labor

January 15th, 2011

On April 3rd, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to support striking sanitation workers.  In his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, he implored the workers to stay resolute in their struggle.  “We are saying that we are determined to be men,” King proclaimed. “We are determined to be people. We are saying that we are God’s children. And that we don’t have to live like we are forced to live.”

One day later, King was assassinated.  The striking members of AFSCME Local 1733 won their struggle eight days after King’s death, with a settlement that included wage increases and union recognition.