Edward N. Peterson Lecture Series

Edward N. Peterson lecture logo

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018


Reception 4 p.m.
Lecture 4:30 p.m.
Kinnickinnic River Theater, 320 University Center, UWRF

Free and open to all

The Spirit of Memphis:

Public Employees and the Dignity of Labor

1968 Memphis sanitation workers' strike

Presented by

Dr. William P. Jones

Professor of History, University of Minnesota

Presentation summary

When Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on April 4, 1968, he was in Memphis, Tennessee, to support 1300 African American sanitation workers who were on strike for what he called “the dignity of labor.” Pointing out that garbage collectors were as critical to public health as doctors, yet paid far less, he asserted; “Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity, and it is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.”

Drawing on his research into public employment in the 20th century United States, Professor Jones explains why the work of garbage collectors and other public employees has been devalued and how those workers have mobilized to assert the dignity of their labor. This history is particularly relevant as we face rising economic inequality, debates over the rights of workers, and the growing significance of service work in the 21st century.

About Dr. Jones

Event poster

News release

Driving & parking

CONFIRMED - We are allowed 30 free spaces in Pay 2 Lot (immediately south of the University Center, on Wild Rose Ave.) for the first 30 vehicles with this printable dashboard permit. IMPORTANT>>>Permit users must park between the "reserved signs" posted at each end of the available parking rows, with permit on driver's side dashboard.

Those arriving after 30 free permits are in use, may purchase a permit at the pay station in the parking lot.

By late afternoon, additional free parking may also be available on on 6th Street near the Power Plant and on the side streets north of Cascade Avenue.

Printable Parking Permit
Directions & parking map
Building information


Event notices
are posted on our Facebook & Twitter accounts as well as on the campus event calendar.

Also on Oct. 30

It's baaack!

Haunted UWRF Tour

every 15 minutes 7 - 9 p.m.

Get the details here!

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The lecture series honors the memory of Professor Ed Peterson, who taught at UWRF from 1954 to 2005. It addresses issues that were the focus of Dr. Peterson's academic life and are still relevant today: war and peace, abuses and limits of power, the struggle for democracy in the twentieth century.

Photo gallery


Contributions may be added to the fund over time. Any questions may be directed to Michael Kahlow, History and Philosophy Department, 715-425-3164 or UWRF Foundation Office, 715-425-3505.

Giving opportunities

About the Lecture Series

About Dr. Ed Peterson

Sponsored by UWRF:

  • Edward N. Peterson Lecture Series Endowment
  • History and Philosophy Foundation
  • History and Philosophy Department
  • College of Arts and Sciences