MLK Fought for Poor and Unions, Scorned Today

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (Getty)
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (Getty)

Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald reminds readers that when Martin Luther King Jr. died, he was fighting for fair treatment of the poor and the right of workers to form unions. Those struggles continue today.


That is not a bedtime story from way back when. It is a headline from right now. Unions, after all, are controversial again. Worse, poor people find themselves denigrated and demeaned in ways that shock conscience.

Former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer once likened them to stray animals one feeds at the back door. Fox "News" pundit John Stossel sees them as the enemy in a battle between "the makers and the takers." Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning compares them to scavenging "raccoons." Ann Coulter says welfare creates "irresponsible animals."


There are people in this country — working people — who must routinely choose between rent and groceries, prescription drugs and electric lights. But we are encouraged by some on the political right to regard them with contempt and save our empathy for the fabulously wealthy.

The man we honor Sunday could have died wealthy from speaking fees alone. But he gave that money away and instead died poor, struggling on the side of the poor …

Read Leonard Pitts Jr.' entire column at the Miami Herald.

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