John Fryer remembers Martin Luther King’s support for trade unionists; and James Erlichman recalls the grief he and his peers felt after King was assassinatedGary Younge’s perceptive article (G2, 4 April) describes delightfully the rehabilitation of Martin Luther King’s legacy from treacherous radical to national icon. Working strategically with Dr King in the 1960s as an official of the Chicago-based slaughterhouse workers union, I can personally testify that we were definitely out to change the US form of capitalism. How ironic it is that his subsequent elevation to virtual sainthood owes so much to the failure of that particular struggle.
West Molesey, Surrey
• The raw statistics in Gary Younge’s appraisal of Martin Luther King’s legacy do not tell the whole story. In April 1968 I was a 19-year-old first-year student at an east coast American university (Brown). While I am sure Younge is right that just before Dr King’s assassination twice as many Americans reviled him as regarded him, on my campus his murder brought overwhelming grief and anger. Classes were cancelled and halls were filled in protest. Among the white liberal young of the United States he was already a hero, and sadly a martyr.