Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., believed that the fate of labor unions and the fate of the civil rights movement are intertwined. He believed the coalition that can have the greatest impact in the struggle for human dignity in America is the coalition of African-Americans and the forces of labor. That is why it is especially poignant that the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was with Dr. King during the Memphis sanitation strike, led the Madison protesters in singing the civil rights anthem, "We Shall Overcome," last night.
The Teamsters have a long history of supporting the civil rights movement. As long ago as 1919, the Teamsters stood for equal pay for equal wages. Chicago locals marched with King in 1966 as they are marching with their brothers and sisters in Madison in 2011.
Here's what Dr. King told the AFL-CIO convention in 1961:
Our needs are identical with labor's needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measure, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community.Be sure to watch all the videos.
That is why Negroes support labor's demands and fight laws which curb labor. That is why the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth.