When Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, he was in Memphis to support a strike by the city’s sanitation workers. Michael K. Honey’s Going Down Jericho Road is a detailed and readable history that examines both the local history of black workers’ struggle for union rights and King’s Poor People’s Campaign. A work that is equally a labor history and a history of civil rights, Honey’s book is an important contribution to our understanding of the last phase of King’s career.
Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:
“Brilliant in the way it delineates the economic benefits to Southern society of American apartheid… it is also stirring in portraying the strike leaders, ordinary workers who risked everything to establish their basic rights in the face of arrogant and condescending power.”—Michael Carlson, The Spectator
“Although many people know Martin Luther King Jr. died in Memphis, few know what he was doing there, observes labor historian Honey in this moving and meticulous account of the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis between January and April 1968. Marrying labor history to civil rights history, the University of Washington professor fluently recounts the negotiations that ensued after black sanitation workers revolted over being sent home without pay on rainy days, although white workers were paid. While showing how their work stoppage became a strike, then a local movement, before coalescing in the Poor People’s Campaign, Honey also reveals King’s shift in emphasis ‘from desegregation and voting rights to the war and the plight of the working class.'”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
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