Still Fighting, 45 Years On

Still Fighting, 45 Years On

by
Abby Zimet

When Georgia sanitation workers marched on Martin Luther King Day to demand recognition of their union, the crowd included two men,
Alvin Turner and Baxter Leach, who marched with King in Memphis nearly 45 years ago just before his assassination. Inspiringly, dispiritingly, they were marching for the same thing.

Martin Luther King Jr. speaking to the state convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO on Oct. 7, 1965:

"The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, government relief for the destitute and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they resisted it until they were overcome."

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