Martin Luther King Day- Remembering a Workers’ Champion

Our union sisters and brothers have long honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life was tragically cut short in Memphis TN where the civil rights leader was support striking AFSCME sanitation workers. Labor Unions remember and pay tribute to the fight for civil rights and Dr. King’s legacy of solidarity with workers.

Dr. King spoke at the AFL-CIO convention in December of 1961, voicing his dream of “the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness.”

See some excerpts from his AFL-CIO Convention speech below:

“I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream—a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality. That is the dream…”

AFL-CIO Convention, December 1961

“Negroes are almost entirely a working people. There are pitifully few Negro millionaires, and few Negro employers. Our needs are identical with labor’s needs — decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community. That is why Negroes support labor’s demands and fight laws which curb labor. That is why the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth.”

AFL-CIO Convention, December 1961

Visit This Page For More Of Dr. King’s Remarks On Labor