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The definitive history of the epic struggle for economic justice that became Martin Luther King Jr.'s last crusade. Memphis in 1968 was ruled by a paternalistic "plantation mentality" embodied in its good-old-boy mayor, Henry Loeb. Wretched conditions, abusive white supervisors, poor education, and low wages locked most black workers into poverty. Then two sanitation workers were chewed up like garbage in the back of a faulty truck, igniting a public employee strike that brought to a boil long-simmering issues of racial injustice. With novelistic drama and rich scholarly detail, Michael Honey brings to life the magnetic characters who clashed on the Memphis battlefield: stalwart black workers; fiery black ministers; volatile, young, black-power advocates; idealistic organizers and tough-talking unionists; the first black members of the Memphis city council; the white upper crust who sought to prevent change or conflagration; and, finally, the magisterial Martin Luther King Jr., undertaking a Poor People's Campaign at the crossroads of his life, vilified as a subversive, hounded by the FBI, and seeing in the working poor of Memphis his hopes for a better America.
Presents a collection of speeches by the civil rights leader on the need for economic equality and justice, detailing his support of unions, labor reform, and call for an end to discrimination against African American workers.
This book chronicles the rarely studied southern industrial union movement from the Great Depression to the cold war, using the strategically located river city of Memphis as a case study. Honey analyzes the economic basis of segregation and the denial of fundamental human rights and civil liberties it entailed.
An astonishing account of the assassination of America's most beloved and celebrated civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, by NY Times bestselling author, James L. Swanson.
What was Martin Luther King Jr. really like? In this groundbreaking volume, Lewis V. Baldwin answers this question by focusing on the man himself. Drawing on the testimonies of friends, family, and closest associates, this volume adds much-needed biographical background to the discussion, as Baldwin looks beyond all of the mythic, messianic, and iconic images to treat King in terms of his fundamental and vivid humanness. Special attention is devoted to King’s personal insecurities and struggles, his humility and affinity to common people, his delight in pleasant and passionate conversation, his insatiable love for the precious but ordinary things of life, his robust appetite for artfully-prepared and delicious soul food, his enduring appreciation for music and dance, his cheerful and playful attitude and spirit, his abiding interest in games and sports, and his amazing gift of wit, humor, and laughter. King emerges here as an ordinary human being who enjoyed and celebrated life to the fullest, but was never bigger than life. Here we see the personal qualities of King—as a real, fleshly human being—and also as a man shaped by his social and cultural experiences and locations. This book reclaims the man behind the mythology.
Clarence B. Jones, close King advisor and draft speechwriter, has done much to reinforce a conservative hijacking of King's image with the publication of his controversial books What Would Martin Say? (2008) and Behind the Dream (2011). King emerges from Jones's books not as a prophetic radical who attacked systemic racial injustice, economic exploitation, and wars of aggression, but as a fiercely conservative figure who would oppose affirmative action and illegal immigration. The Domestication of Martin Luther King Jr. offers a critique of Jones's work and the larger effort on the part of right-wing conservatives to make King a useful symbol, or the sacred aura, in a protracted campaign to promote their own agenda for America. This work establishes the need to rethink King's legacy of ideas and activism and its importance for our society and culture.
The Liberatory Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. is a philosophical anthology which explores Dr. King’s legacy as a philosopher and his contemporary relevance as a thinker-activist. It consists of sixteen chapters organized into four sections: Part I, King within Philosophical Traditions, Part II, King as Engaged Social and Political Philosopher, Part III, King’s Ethics of Nonviolence, and Part IV, Hope Resurgent or Dream Deferred: Perplexities of King’s Philosophical Optimism. Most chapters are written by philosophers, but two are by philosophically informed social scientists. The contributors examine King’s relationships to canonical Western philosophical traditions, and to African-American thought. King’s contribution to traditional branches of philosophy such as ethics, social philosophy and philosophy of religion is explored, as well as his relevance to contemporary movements for social justice. As is evident from the title, the book considers the importance of King’s thought as liberatory discourse. Some chapters focus on “topical” issues like the relevance of King’s moral critique of the Vietnam War to our present involvement in Middle Eastern wars. Others focus on more densely theoretical issues such as Personalism, existential philosophy or Hegelian dialectics in King’s thought. The significance of King’s reflections on racism, economic justice, democracy and the quest for community are abiding themes. But the volume closes, quite fittingly, on the importance of the theme of hope. The text is a kind of philosophical dialogue on the enduring value of the legacy of the philosopher, King.

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