I had the honor and privilege to attend this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sunrise Celebration breakfast at ALA, Midwinter in San Diego with Beacon Press editor/author Dr. Michael Honey editor of one of the latest books in the King Legacy Series from Beacon Press, All Labor Has Dignity.

On the way to the Sunrise Breakfast that morning, after a much-needed stop at Starbucks, Dr. Honey and I were talking about how early the breakfast started, and were hoping that the attendees would be engaged that early in the morning- and truth be told, hoping that librarians actually turned up for the event.

Needless to say, we were both proven wrong in our doubts-  Not only were there over 100 people in attendance, but it was also one of the most enthusiastic groups I have ever met. It was very encouraging and inspiring to see the amount of passion put into the program itself- where attendees of the breakfast, including ALA board members, librarians and committee heads, rotated in and out and read passages from Dr. King’s inspiring Drum Major Instinct speech that encompassed the morning’s theme of the breakfast, “Everybody Can Be Great.”

The words of the breakfast’s theme fit perfectly with Dr. Honey’s message of his new book, “All Labor Has Dignity,” an unprecedented and timely collection of King’s speeches on labor rights and economic justice. The room was silent during Honey’s talk and even more silent during a video excerpt he played showing Martin Luther King, JR. during the Memphis Sanitation Strike in 1968.

The breakfast ended with the entire room full of people circling the room with hands held singing, “We Shall Overcome.” I know there are many other author events and seminars during the course of the ALA conferences- and I know San Diego was no exception- but I thought this experience during the Sunrise Celebration was worth noting- the collaboration of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force of the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, World Book and Dr. Michael Honey worked perfectly together. It was a great way to start off the day and to kick-off the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History Month.

To learn more about Dr. Michael Honey, Southern civil rights organizer, civil liberties and community organizer, and author of Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, King’s Last Campaign, and most recently All Labor Has Dignity, you can search the King Legacy Pages. And to learn more about his latest book, click here.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sunrise Celebration breakfast at ALA, Midwintwer 2011

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