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A Continued Search for Meaning: Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King's Dream

United States Department of Labor - Hall of Honor Inductee: The Workers of the Memphis Sanitation Strike

                 The Workers of the Memphis Sanitation Strike (1968)

 

 

  President Barack Obama talks with participants from the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike,
  April 29, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

"I am a man."

"In February of 1968, a century after emancipation, the shameful Jim Crow era was alive and well in the American South. In Memphis, African-Americans were shut out of jobs that paid an honest wage. For many black men, sanitation work was the only job they could get, but they did it proudly. When more than 1300 members of the city public works department tried to organize to improve their wages and working conditions, they were attacked. So they went on strike, taking a stand for human dignity with four simple words: "I am a man." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Memphis to march with the striking sanitation workers in his final crusade before his assassination. Following his death, the sanitation workers stayed true to their non-violent philosophy. After a peaceful march through downtown Memphis, they finally won their union rights, a watershed moment in the civil rights movement that sparked a wave of African-American unionization across the South."

source: https://www.dol.gov/general/aboutdol/hallofhonor/2011_memphis

 

National Archives

  Records of the United States District Court
  Western District of Tennessee

  City of Memphis v. Martin Luther King, Jr., [et al.]

  [Defendants'] Exhibit 1

  Flyer distributed to sanitation workers asking them to "March for Justice and Jobs"

  

 

  Records of the United States District Court
  Western District of Tennessee

  City of Memphis v. Martin Luther King, Jr., [et al.]

  [Defendants'] Exhibit 2

  Flyer distributed requesting volunteer assistance and offering instructions.

I've Been to the Mountaintop

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at Mason Temple, Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968.

I've Been to the Mountaintop

A Speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Congress

  Y 1.2/2:13204-11

  95th Congress 2d Session
  House Report 1828

  Select Committee on Assassinations Final Report, Part II.
  Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the Assassination of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in     Memphis, Tenn., April 4, 1968

 

  Y 4.AS 7:K 58/

  Investigation of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  volumes 1 - 13

People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal in Memphis, Tennessee, September, 1943