Letter: Celebrate King and the link to Albert Lea history

Published 9:03 pm Thursday, January 16, 2020

Most of us associate Martin Luther King with the civil rights movement and an advocacy of nonviolence. Yet, Reverend King spent a good deal of time working for economic justice as well.   

In fact, when King was assassinated in April 1968, he was in Memphis to support the city’s striking sanitation workers. In February 1968, two sanitation workers had been killed in a garbage-compacting accident. King came to Memphis to march with the striking workers who were protesting these needless deaths as well as their unequal pay and poor working conditions.

Albert Lea’s history is rich in examples of workers fighting for economic justice through collective bargaining and unions. One need only read the book “Packing House Daughter” by  Cheri Register to learn that part of our local history.

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On Martin Luther King Day, the Peace and Justice Committee will once again present a program to celebrate King’s legacy and to link this with Albert Lea’s own history. There will be music and speeches, a song by Albert Lea High School students, music by Elisha Marin and a presentation of an excerpt of the play “Wilson’s Girl” by Eva Barr, as read by Jim Haney’s students.  There will be exhibits of local union memorabilia.

Please join us in celebrating the contributions that Martin Luther King made to our world, and the contributions that past generations made to our community. The 32nd annual Martin Luther King Program will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Riverland Community College atrium and lecture hall.

Mary Hinnenkamp

member of Peace and Justice Committee