Martin Luther King Jr. and the Labor Movement

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was well known for his work as a civil rights activist. However, this was just one piece of his advocacy efforts. Much of Dr. King’s fight for civil rights intersected with the labor movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  

In 1961, just months after meeting with President John F. Kennedy and pushing him to make racial segregation illegal, Dr. King spoke at the AFL–CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) annual convention. 

During his address to the convention, Dr. King said that the needs of people of color were “identical with labor’s needs — decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community.”

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