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Going down Jericho Road : the Memphis strike, Martin Luther King's last campaign
Michael K. Honey
Adult Nonfiction HD5325.S2572 1968 M465 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Although many people know Martin Luther King Jr. died in Memphis, few know what he was doing there, observes labor historian Honey in this moving and meticulous account of the sanitation workers' strike in Memphis between January and April 1968. Marrying labor history to civil rights history, the University of Washington professor fluently recounts the negotiations that ensued after black sanitation workers revolted over being sent home without pay on rainy days, although white workers were paid. While showing how their work stoppage became a strike, then a local movement, before coalescing in the Poor People's Campaign, Honey also reveals King's shift in emphasis "from desegregation and voting rights to the war and the plight of the working class." He also vividly captures many dramatic moments, including marches and sermons as well as King's assassination and its violent aftermath. While familiar villains, famous civil rights activists and King himself often take center stage, the rank-and file workers, whose lives are revealed here, remain the story's heroes and martyrs. Honey's passionate commitment to labor is undisguised, making this effort a worthy and original contribution to the literature. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In 1968, Memphis sanitation workers went on strike for 68 days against the plantation-like city government run by reactionary mayor Henry Loeb. Martin Luther King, exhausted and demoralized by challenges to his authority by a growing militant black faction and by the FBI's attempts to destroy his credibility, still inspired the workers who ultimately won a contract that made them the highest-paid sanitation workers in the South. Honey (ethnic, gender & labor studies; history, Univ. of Washington, Tacoma; Black Workers Remember: An Oral History of Segregation) presents a dramatic narrative of the strike that led to the spread of unions throughout America, a triumph that King did not live to see. Honey excels at describing the sanitation workers' plight, portraying the strike's leaders (notably black union head T.O. Jones and white American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees officials Jerry Wurf and P.J. Ciampi), and recounting how the strikers, with the support of students and black women, fought to escape the hell of poverty and racism. This stunning combination of impeccable scholarship, enhanced by fascinating oral histories and a page-turning style, results in an important contribution to labor history and to the literature of Martin Luther King. Highly recommended for most public and all academic libraries.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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