“We need an economic bill of rights. This would guarantee a job to all people who want to work and are able to work. It would also guarantee an income for all who are not able to work.” (Martin Luther King Jr., from Reflecting Black: African-American Cultural Criticism, by Michael Eric Dyson, p. 243)
Unfortunately, many forget that Dr. King was deeply committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform.
This new volume “All Labor Has Dignity”, edited by a noted scholar of labor and African-American history Michael Honey, presents a unique and inspiring collection of 16 speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. on workers rights and unions (12 of them previously unpublished). This collection makes clear that King’s vision of economic and social justice was not just the product of the Poor People’s Campaign he was organizing in his last days, but had deeper roots in his overall political philosophy. This is an important and empowering reading especially in these days.