Posted by: JanF | April 5, 2011

Remembering our past

Today’s post starts with a moment of silence.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. As I was reading the news this morning, I came across an article in ThinkProgress reminding us about what Dr. King was doing in Memphis.

43 Years Ago Today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Died Fighting For The Rights Of Public Workers

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many Americans know that King was shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee — which now hosts a national civil rights museum in honor of King — but what is less known is why King was there in the first place.

On April 3, 1968, King traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, where he delivered his famous “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” speech, during which he endorsed a “human rights revolution” based around eradicating racism, poverty, and militarism.

Remembering Dr. King’s words, especially in light of the union struggles underscored in Wisconsin this year, is important. The words remind us that while the rights and privileges of the wealthy and well-connected are never at risk, We The People have to keep fighting not only to gain our rights but to preserve them.

Here are some of his remarks to the Memphis city sanitation workers. Selfishly put here so that I can always find them and listen to them again.

You are demanding that this city will respect the dignity of labor. So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth. You are reminding not only Memphis but you are reminding the nation that it is a crime for people who live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages.

• respect the dignity of labor
• you are engaged in work that serves humanity
• it is a crime for people who live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages

 

Today’s struggle was his stuggle … 43 years ago:

[On April 4th] thousands of Americans — comprising a new Main Street Movement battling the right-wing assault on the middle class — will take part in over a thousand actions including marches, teach-ins, workplace conversations, and other events to honor King’s last struggle and to carry it on in the battles over collective bargaining rights today

Great Speeches is a series on speeches by American politicians.

(A version of this was originally posted on 04/05/2011 at BPI Campus)

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