|ONLINE VERSION||VOLUME 106 - NUMBER 12 - DECEMBER 1997|
|Martin Luther King. Jr.|
|Martin Luther King. Jr.
1929 - 1968
As we begin another new year, those of us committed to principles of solidarity pause to remember the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. The Reverend King, who was born on January 15, 1929, led a movement whose goals were to end poverty and to see that ALL men and women have good jobs and decent living and working conditions. He led a battle against the most wealthy and powerful in our society to see that working people and poor people received their fair share of the pie.
Dr. King was committed to removing the barriers that divide working and poor people--the barriers of race and sex discrimination--and came to lead poor and working people by employing moral tactics of non-violent civil disobedience to bring about a decent life for all Americans.
This Nobel Peace Prize winner was slain on April 4, 1968 while assisting sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee in organizing a union. He was cut from the same cloth as Eugene Debs and John J. Lewis. He always supported the labor movement and was always supported by it. One of his chief strategists, advisors and tacticians was the great rail labor leader A. Philip Randolph.
Nothing demonstrates the backward attitudes of the rail carriers more than their unwillingness to grant Rail Labor its request to make Martin Luther King's birthday a paid holiday. Martin Luther King's greatness, his impact for decency in the United States, is so profound that even Ronald Reagan signed the bill which Congress passed making Martin's birthday a federal holiday in 1983. It is also a holiday in every state of the union.
We remember Reverend King and all he stood and stands for, for he stood and stands for the same thing that we do.