Saturday, January 13, 2007

Going Down Jericho Road

GOING DOWN JERICHO ROAD: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign,
--by Michael K. Honey.Norton, 2007.

Washington Post reviewer, Kevin Boyle, writes:

In Going Down Jericho Road, Michael K. Honey painstakingly recreates the explosive situation King stepped into. On Feb. 12, 1968, Memphis's 1,300 sanitation workers, almost all of them African American, went on strike. They didn't ask for much: recognition of their union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; an agreement that the city would withhold union dues from workers' paychecks; a small pay raise; and improved safety standards. But for men who had always lived under the crushing weight of white supremacy, even such simple demands represented an exhilarating assertion of human rights. By walking off their jobs, the strikers were laying claim to the dignity and justice long denied them.....
Honey devotes the second half of Going Down Jericho Road to King's month-long engagement with the strikers' struggle. A former union organizer turned labor historian at the University of Washington, Tacoma, Honey has a sure feel for the idealism that surged through the strike that spring.

Michael K. Honey, is Harry Bridges Endowed Chair, University of Washington
* Professor, Labor and Ethnic Studies and American History

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