Honoring Dr. King


The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at Mason Temple, Memphis, Tenn. on April 3, 1968.

In January, CSEA members will join in celebrating the life, work and legacy of The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

King fought tirelessly to advance civil rights, human rights and economic and social justice. As we honor Dr. King’s life and accomplishments, we also remember his work on behalf of the labor movement.

King often connected the ongoing struggles for workers’ rights with civil rights, noting that labor rights are key to helping working people find prosperity.

“The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress,” said King, while addressing the 1965 Illinois AFL-CIO State Convention.

King had a special connection to our International union, AFSCME. 

On April 3, 1968, the day before his assassination, he visited Memphis, Tenn. to support striking sanitation workers who were seeking to form a union with AFSCME. That evening, King delivered his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address to those sanitation workers.

Several weeks after King’s death, the workers reached a deal with the City of Memphis that ended the strike and recognized their union, now known as AFSCME Local 1733.

More than 50 years after King’s death, his fight for racial, social and economic justice is as relevant as ever. 

CSEA is committed to joining our allies in labor and other groups in continuing King’s work to realize his dream of equality and dignity, including an end to all discrimination.


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