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Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign Hardcover – January 15, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Honey is an award-winning historian who has written two previous excellent books that demonstrate his skill as an oral historian. The outstanding feature of this book is the numerous interviews he conducted with important figures, which keep the book always absorbing.
King receives much attention, but Honey shows that the Memphis strike was led by local workers and union officials who were fighting to escape the living hell of dangerous working conditions (the strike grew out of the deaths of two sanitation workers who were mangled in a malfunctioning garbage truck when they sought shelter from a rainstorm).
In addition to the stories about the local workers and organizers, King is portrayed as an important influence who was struggling with internal fighting among black civil rights groups, includng the NAACP, the Urban League, SCLC, and SNCC, the FBI, Lyndon Johnson, who was angered by King's anti-war proclamations, and most whites who thought King was moving too fast. Any reader who questions King's leadership and selflessness, needs to read this book to have those views dispelled.
Ultimately, the Memphis strike paved the way for labor improvements throughout the South.
This superb book should be considered for all major book prizes. For King scholars, it is essential and for all other informed readers, it is an excellent narrative of King and his times.
It will soon be fifty years since the events described here occurred; however, the underlying situation that existed, not only in Memphis but nationally, are still alive today. The promised land which Dr. King saw from the mountaintop the night before his death is still on the horizon. We may have moved closer to it, but we still are marching.
If you want to understand from where we have come, Michael Honey's book will provide an in depth view of one key moment in the journey.
this is a startling look at the TN garbage strike and just how deplorable conditions were.. and how blind whites were as they felt "victimized" by "Black's getting uppity and wanting unions..." .. however this was facilitated and supported by a press and political regime that only released some information.. not only allowing whites to remain ignorant but encouraging their blindness to the issue at hand..
the appalling ignorance and racism makes for hard reading ..
as for MLK.. this book.. really doesn't show a lot of HIM.. in this .. yes he was there.. but he was not the center of this controversy, and although he helped and brought attention to it.. and eventually .. was murdered .. this story is less about MLK.. and more about the fight to get some type of fairness in TN for Black workers.
what this book talks about is a lot of the unfairness, the propoganda by whites/white press and just how manipulative a situation can become as the spin on the story .. pits racial tension
In Memphis, we now have a very visible middle class African American community with a black mayor and most public offices held by African Americans. Does this serve to mask the injustices which still plague the poor in this and many other communities? Has the rise of the middle class made the working poor and unemployed even more invisible? Is there any more community now between the white and black communities than there was in 1968?
I don't pretend to have definitive answers to these questions. However, just asking the questions and considering them in light of Michael Honey's historic journal makes one look twice at the comforts we enjoy in this world. If all books could get the reader thinking along these lines, this would be a much better world.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dr king was more than a Civil Rights leader - he was the originator of the awareness expressed by Occupy Wall Street -- the 1 % vs the 99 %Published on March 13, 2014 by martin.morand
Prof. Honey does an excellent job of bringing together the facts surrounding the 1968 sanitation workers strike in Memphis, TN and its intersection with MLK's poor peoples... Read morePublished on December 1, 2013 by Auntie Jpeg
A friend told me about this book as education on the history of unions, but it is so much more. It has become one of my favorite books of all time.Published on August 15, 2013 by Jennifer Martin
I am moved beyond words by this book. As someone who has been active in strikes and the labor movement, I have been enthralled by the story of the Memphis Santitation Workers'... Read morePublished on April 3, 2013 by Sandor
Writings on M. L. King have too often descended into official, religious hagiography that is sacrilege to touch. Read morePublished on March 5, 2011 by R. L. Huff
This vibrant account of MLK's last weeks before the assassination - and of the conditions of black workers in Memphis that drew him to the city - overcomes the cliches that have... Read morePublished on July 29, 2010 by Julian Bene
This book was an excellent account of MLK and related events leading to his assassination in Memphis. Strongly recommended for anyone interested in history or sociology.Published on July 20, 2009 by Roxann Lindsay