"LABOR HAS A GREAT STAKE IN THE STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, IF ONLY BECAUSE THE FORCES THAT ARE ANTI-NEGRO ARE USUALLY ANTI-LABOR TOO": EXCEPTIONAL AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT LEAF BY MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. FOR STRIDE TOWARD FREEDOM
KING Jr., Martin Luther. Autograph manuscript leaf from Stride Toward Freedom. Montgomery, Alabama, circa 1957. One leaf of Montgomery Improvement Association letterhead, measuring 8-1/2 by 11 inches, inscribed in pencil on the verso. With a first edition of Stride Toward Freedom. Housed together in custom chemise and a clamshell box. $19,500.
Exceptional original autograph manuscript leaf entirely in Martin Luther King Jr.'s hand for his book Stride Toward Freedom, discussing the natural relationship between the Labor movement and the Civil Rights Movement.
King's first book presented a full and personal account of the bus strike in Montgomery, Alabama. Sparked by Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white man, it was the first successful large-scale application of non-violent resistance to segregation in the United States. This leaf, from a late draft of the work, reads: "…of whom have been active in white citizens councils. The existence of these conditions within the ranks of labor reveals that the job is a continuing one. The AFL-CIO must use all of the powerful forces at its command to enforce the principles it has professed. Labor leaders must continue to recognize that labor has a great stake in the struggle for civil rights, if only because the forces that are anti-Negro are usually anti-labor too. The current attacks on organized labor because of the misdeed of a few malefactors should not blind us to labor's essential role in the present crisis." These words appear virtually unchanged on pages 204-05 in Chapter XI, titled "Where Do We Go From Here?"—also the title of King's last work. (The sentences immediately preceding these in the final work are "The AFL-CIO drive to organize the South has been virtually abandoned because of the massive resistance of a significant portion of the organized labor oligarchy, many of whom have been active in white citizen's councils." The sentence after it is "The church too must face its historic obligation in the crisis.") That King should direct his attention to the labor movement is not in the least surprising: the March on Washington in 1963 began as a protest by the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and one of the movement's main strategists was labor organizer Bayard Rustin. Indeed, in his later years, King increasingly saw his struggle as one for greater economic justice for all; King's assassination in 1968 occurred during the bitter Memphis Sanitation Worker's Strike, with which he was centrally involved. Included with this leaf is a copy of the first edition of Stride Toward Freedom. With eight pages of black-and-white photographs. Blockson 4119.
An extraordinary Martin Luther King Jr. autograph manuscript with exceptional content.