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.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.90(d)|
About the Author
Michael K. Honey, a former Southern civil rights and civil liberties organizer, is Haley Professor of Humanities at the University of Washington Tacoma, where he teaches labor, ethnic, and gender studies and American history. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and has won numerous research fellowships and book awards for his books on labor, race relations, and civil rights history, including the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Going Down Jericho Road. He lives in Tacoma with his wife, Pat Krueger.
Table of Contents
A Personal Preface xiii
Introduction: Two Lives Lost 1
Labor and Civil Rights
A Plantation in the City 7
Dr. King, labor, and the Civil Rights Movement 23
Struggles of the Working Poor 50
Standing at the Crossroads 76
On Strike for Respect 98
Hambone's Meditations: The Failure of Community 128
Testing the Social Gospel 151
Fighting for the Working Poor
Minister to the Valley: The Poor People's Campaign 173
Baptism by Fire 191
Ministers and Manhood 211
Escalation: The Youth Movement 260
"All Labor has Dignity" 287
"Something Dreadful" 309
Jericho Road is a Dangerous Road
Chaos in the Bluff City 335
"The Movement Lives or Dies in Memphis" 362
State of Siege 382
Shattered Dreams and Promised Lands 400
"A Crucifixion Event" 427
"We Have Got the Victory" 483
Epilogue: How We Remember King 497
A Note on Sources 511
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really liked this book. The writing is clear. The narrative really tells a compelling story. Some of these stories are very raw. The book really does take the reader back to 1968. I think anyone would enjoy this. Professor Honey does a good job of story telling.