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To Jerry Wurf

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Author: King, Martin Luther Jr.

Date: December 4, 1958

Location: Montgomery, Ala.?

Genre: Letter

Topic: Labor Movement


Rustin wrote King on 10 November urging him to send a letter to labor leader Wurf, thanking his union for participating in the 25 October Youth March for Integrated Schools.1 Rustin enclosed a draft of the proposed letter.2

Mr. Jerry Wurf, Regional Director 
American Federation of State, County and 
Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO 
22 Elk Street 
New York 7, New York

Dear Mr. Wurf:

I wish to congratulate the more than 550 members of Local 420 and of the other local unions affiliated with District Council 37, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO who participated in the Youth March in Washington for their splendid demonstration in behalf of equality and democracy.

The support given to the Youth March by Local 420 and the other local unions of District Council 37, and their success in achieving such wide participation by their members and the children of their members, offers eloquent testimony to the fact of their devotion to the cause of human freedom and the brotherhood of man.

Sincerely yours, 
Martin L. King, Jr.


1. Jerome Wurf (1919-1981), born in New York City, received a B.A. (1940) from New York University. In 1943, after three years of working in a cafeteria, Wurf organized his fellow workers into Local 448 Hotel and Restaurant Employees. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) president Arnold Zander hired Wurf in 1947 to build District Council 37, the public employee’s union in New York City. In 1964 Wurf defeated Zander for the AFSCME presidency. Wurf led the union during the 1968 strike by black sanitation workers in Memphis who were protesting racial discrimination and poor job conditions. King was in Memphis supporting the strikers at the time of his assassination.

2. Rustin worked on at least one other draft of this letter to Wurf (for drafts see King to Wurf, 10 November 1958 and 4 December 1958).

Source: MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

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