When Memphis sanitation workers went on strike in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. knew they had a lesson to teach America. “You are reminding the nation,” he told attendees at a March 1968 rally there, “that it is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages … working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income.”

Economic justice was not new to his agenda. Today, many people identify King with his soaring “I Have a Dream” rhetoric at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. But what was his dream? The March on Washington sought equality before the law, but also an economic bill of rights for poor white, black and brown workers. He had constantly linked

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