Martin Luther King Jr on Labor

UMass Lowell professor Bob Forrant kindly brought the following quote to our attention on the occasion of the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, January 15, 1929.

“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. When in the thirties the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society.”

—Speech to the state convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Oct. 7, 1965