UWT professor earns Kennedy Book Award

UW Tacoma Professor Michael Honey has received the Robert F. Kennedy Book award for his book documenting the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike and Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis, Tenn.
Honey and his book, “Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign,” was recognized at a ceremony May 27 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Given by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, the award honors books which faithfully and forcefully reflect the late Robert F. Kennedy’s concern for the oppressed and their struggle for justice.
Kennedy and King fought similar battles in the 1960s against poverty, racism and social injustice, Honey said.
“Robert F. Kennedy urged King to bring the poor to Washington, inspiring his Poor People’s Campaign,” Honey said. “Memphis was part of that effort, and it became his last campaign.”
Released in 2007, “Going Down Jericho Road” is the first in-depth story of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, a pivotal moment in the late 20th-century human-rights movement. The book tells the story of the strike, which started after two sanitation workers died in their truck due to outdated equipment and the indifference of their white supervisors. Their deaths touched off one of the most significant labor strikes in the history of the nation, one that before its end would rock the plantation mentality of Memphis’ government to its core and, on April 4, 1968, see the tragic death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Ethel Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, presented Honey with the award. Previous winners of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award include former Vice President Al Gore, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Taylor Branch, Toni Morrison and Jonathan Kozol.
“Going Down Jericho Road” also received the Liberty Legacy Award from the Organization of American Historians. Honey, who has published three award-winning books connecting labor and civil rights history, teaches labor and ethnic studies and American history and holds the Fred T. and Dorothy G. Haley Endowed Professorship of the Humanities. He has taught at UW Tacoma since the campus opened in 1990.
For more information about Honey or Going Down Jericho Road, visit http://www.faculty.washington.edu/mhoney .