New edition of MLK's speeches in time for King's birthday

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A new paperback edition of Rev. Martin Luther King’s labor speeches links the civil rights issues he was committed to with today's issues of economic justice.

Mike Honey, professor of history in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program at the University of Washington Tacoma,  collected and edited King’s writings on economic justice in All Labor Has Dignity (Beacon Press, 256 pages, 2011). A paperback version will appear in mid-January, just before the MLK birthday observance.

The collection begins with King's lectures to unions early in his career as a civil rights leader and culminates with his "Mountaintop" speech supporting black sanitation workers on strike for union rights in Memphis.

King’s assassination in 1968 occurred as he was helping support the sanitation workers.

“The Occupy movement has raised the issue of economic equality, a phrase used by King in 1968,” said Honey. “King also fought for collective bargaining rights in Memphis, just as done today in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states. King said ‘right to work’ laws such as the one now being pushed in Indiana provide ‘no rights and no work.’”

Honey was interviewed on KUOW 94.9 Public Radio on Jan. 16. Listen to the podcast at:


January 5, 2012