Local 355 Administrative Clerical Employees

Remembering Dr. King

Dr. King was murdered helping stroke AFSCME sanitation workers.


Monday, Jan. 17, 2011 marks the holiday honoring the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It's a time to remember King and redouble our efforts to keep alive his dream of social and economic justice.

A brief chronology: On April 3, 1968, King traveled to Memphis to support striking AFSCME sanitation workers. That evening, he delivered his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to a packed room of supporters. The next day, he was assassinated.

More than 40 years ago, King faced a hostile political climate, and in his last speech, he stood in solidarity with working people seeking justice and dignity. These are the words he spoke to the Illinois State AFL-CIO Convention on Oct. 7, 1965:

"The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, government relief for the destitute and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they resisted it until they were overcome. When in the thirties the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society."  

Powerful words then, ever so true today.

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