Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign

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W. W. Norton & Company, Feb 7, 2011 - History - 640 pages
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The definitive history of the epic struggle for economic justice that became Martin Luther King Jr.'s last crusade.

Memphis in 1968 was ruled by a paternalistic "plantation mentality" embodied in its good-old-boy mayor, Henry Loeb. Wretched conditions, abusive white supervisors, poor education, and low wages locked most black workers into poverty. Then two sanitation workers were chewed up like garbage in the back of a faulty truck, igniting a public employee strike that brought to a boil long-simmering issues of racial injustice.

With novelistic drama and rich scholarly detail, Michael Honey brings to life the magnetic characters who clashed on the Memphis battlefield: stalwart black workers; fiery black ministers; volatile, young, black-power advocates; idealistic organizers and tough-talking unionists; the first black members of the Memphis city council; the white upper crust who sought to prevent change or conflagration; and, finally, the magisterial Martin Luther King Jr., undertaking a Poor People's Campaign at the crossroads of his life, vilified as a subversive, hounded by the FBI, and seeing in the working poor of Memphis his hopes for a better America.
 

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Going down Jericho Road: the Memphis strike, Martin Luther King's last campaign

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In 1968, Memphis sanitation workers went on strike for 68 days against the plantation-like city government run by reactionary mayor Henry Loeb. Martin Luther King, exhausted and demoralized by ... Read full review

Contents

Two Lives Lost
1
A PLANTATION IN THE CITY
7
DR KING LABOR AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
23
STRUGGLES OF THE WORKING POOR
50
STANDING AT THE CROSSROADS
76
ON STRIKE FOR RESPECT
98
THE FAILURE
128
TESTING THE SOCIAL GOSPEL
151
JERICHO ROAD IS A DANGEROUS ROAD
333
CHAOS IN THE BLUFF CITY
335
THE MOVEMENT LIVES OR DIES IN MEMPHIS
362
STATE OF SIEGE
382
SHATTERED DREAMS AND PROMISED LANDS
400
A CRUCIFIXION EVENT
427
RECKONINGS
451
WE HAVE GOT THE VICTORY
483

FIGHTING FORTHE WORKING POOR
171
THE POOR PEOPLES CAMPAIGN
173
BAPTISM BY FIRE
191
MINISTERS AND MANHOOD
211
CONVERGENCE
240
THE YOUTH MOVEMENT
260
ALL LABOR HAS DIGNITY
287
SOMETHING DREADFUL
309
How We Remember King
497
Acknowledgments
507
A Note on Sources
511
Notes
514
Main Individuals and Organizations
571
Bibliography
575
Index
591
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Michael K. Honey, a former Southern civil rights and civil liberties organizer, is professor of labor, ethnic, and gender studies and American history, and the Haley Professor of Humanities, at the University of Washington Tacoma. He is the author of two prize-winning books on labor and civil rights history. He lives in Tacoma.

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