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why did king travel to memphis tennessee in 1968

why did king travel to memphis tennessee in 1968插图

On March 28, 1968, King returned to Memphisto lead a march with Lawson in support of the strike. The protest turned ugly when an outside group infiltrated the marchers and became violent, leading to the death of an African American teenager. Despite the tragedy, the strike continued, as did smaller demonstrations.

Why did MLK return to Memphis in 1968?

On March 28, 1968, King returned to Memphis to lead a march with Lawson in support of the strike. The protest turned ugly when an outside group infiltrated the marchers and became violent, leading to the death of an African American teenager. Despite the tragedy, the strike continued, as did smaller demonstrations.

Why did Martin Luther King visit Memphis?

The fact is that Dr. King was in Memphis as part of his “Poor People’s Campaign.” He was fighting for better housing, wages, workplace safety and schools for the underprivileged. In the case of his visit to Memphis, he was championing 1,300 African-American sanitation workers that worked for the city of Memphis.

Where did Martin Luther King lead his march in 1968?

Photo courtesy of Memphis Press-Scimitar archives, University of Memphis. On March 28, 1968, King arrived in the city to lead a march through downtown Memphis.

What happened in Memphis in 1968?

The year 1968 proved to be a turning point for gradualism of integration and racial justice in Memphis. Spurred by the gruesome deaths of two African American sanitation workers, sanitation employees went on strike for higher wages, better working conditions, and union recognition.

What happened to the sewer workers in 1968?

The strike began over the mistreatment of 22 sewer workers who reported for work on January 31, 1968, and were sent home when it began raining. White employees were not sent home. When the rain stopped after an hour or so, they continued to work and were paid for the full day, while the black workers lost a day’s pay. The next day, two sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death by a malfunctioning city garbage truck.

What did the Memphis unions do to help the garbage strike?

Thus, it was not surprising that Memphis’ civil rights and union leaders invited King to their city to help draw national attention to the garbage strike.

What led to the strike settlement?

As TIME magazine noted at the time: "Ironically, it was the violence of Martin Luther King’s death rather than the nonviolence of his methods that ultimately broke the city’s resistance" and led to the strike settlement.

What were the grievances of the black community?

At the rallies, ministers and union activists linked the workers’ grievances with the black community’s long-standing anger over police abuse, slum housing, segregated and inadequate schools, and the concentration of blacks in the lowest-paying, dirtiest jobs.

What would King do if he was still alive?

If he were still alive, King would surely join the growing campaigns to unionize and improve pay and working conditions for janitors, security guards, hotel workers, hospital employees, farmworkers, grocery employees, and others who earn poverty-level wages. He might disrupt Walmart stockholder meetings to demand that the company pay employees a living wage, join fast-food workers in their quest for decent pay, and urge consumers to boycott the Gap, Walmart and other companies until they stop manufacturing their products in overseas sweatshops. He’d also be working with unions, community groups, and fellow clergy to pressure Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, which was one of the demands of the March on Washington.

Who was the president of the Memphis strike?

President Johnson ordered federal troops to Memphis and instructed Undersecretary of Labor James Reynolds to mediate the conflict and settle the strike. The following week, King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and dozens of national figures led a peaceful memorial march through downtown Memphis in tribute to Dr. King and in support of the strike. Local business leaders, tired of the boycott and the downtown demonstrations, urged Loeb to come to terms with the strikers.

Who is Peter Dreier?

Peter Dreier is E.P.Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chairr of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His latest book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).

What happened to the sewer workers in 1968?

The strike began over the mistreatment of 22 sewer workers who reported for work on January 31, 1968, and were sent home when it began raining. White employees were not sent home. When the rain stopped after an hour or so, they continued to work and were paid for the full day, while the black workers lost a day’s pay. The next day, two sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death by a malfunctioning city garbage truck.

What led to the Memphis strike?

The following week, King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and dozens of national figures led a peaceful memorial march through downtown Memphis in tribute to Dr. King and in support of the strike. Local business leaders, tired of the boycott and the downtown demonstrations, urged Loeb to come to terms with the strikers. On April 16, union leaders and city officials reached an agreement. The city council passed a resolution recognizing the union. The 14-month contract included union dues check-off, a grievance procedure, and wage increases of 10 cents per hour May 1 and another five cents in September. Members of AFSCME Local 1733 approved the agreement unanimously and ended their strike.

What did the Memphis unions do to help the garbage strike?

Thus, it was not surprising that Memphis’ civil rights and union leaders invited King to their city to help draw national attention to the garbage strike.

How many people were on the city hall strike?

Community support for the strikers grew steadily. The NAACP endorsed the strike and sponsored all-night vigils and pickets at City Hall. On February 23, 1,500 people — strikers and their supporters — packed City Hall chambers, but the all-white city council voted to back the mayor’s refusal to recognize the union.

What did the local ministers do to support the strikers?

Local ministers formed a citywide group to support the strikers. They called on their congregants to participate in rallies and marches, donate to the strike fund, and boycott downtown stores in order to get business leaders to pressure city officials to negotiate with the union. On Sunday, March 3, an eight-hour gospel singing marathon at Mason Temple raised money for strikers. The next day, the beginning of the fourth week of the strike, 500 white labor unionists from Memphis and other Tennessee cities joined black ministers and sanitation workers in their daily downtown march.

What were the grievances of the black community?

At the rallies, ministers and union activists linked the workers’ grievances with the black community’s long-standing anger over police abuse, slum housing, segregated and inadequate schools, and the concentration of blacks in the lowest-paying, dirtiest jobs.

What would King do if he was still alive?

If he were still alive, King would surely be working with unions, clergy, and community groups to raise the federal minimum wage, enact local living wage laws, expand health insurance to all Americans, and help America’s working poor — hotel workers, janitors, security guards, hospital employees, grocery workers, farmworkers, and others — unionize for better working and living conditions.

How much damage did the Memphis riots cause?

In Memphis, burning and looting resulted in more than $400,000 in damage to property, but the rioting did not reach the level of destruction in larger cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit. Negotiations continued between the Memphis city government, the sanitation workers, and AFSCME, the union attempting to get recognition …

What was the impact of the Memphis strike?

The strike proved that with unity, patience, and persistence, the Memphis power structure could be forced to change long-held views on race, class, and employment. After King’s assassination, the African American community continued applying pressure on the white establishment. In the summer of 1968, the NAACP created …

What happened in Memphis in 1968?

1968, The Sanitation Workers and Dr. King. The year 1968 proved to be a turning point for gradualism of integration and racial justice in Memphis. Spurred by the gruesome deaths of two African American sanitation workers, sanitation employees went on strike for higher wages, better working conditions, and union recognition.

What was the goal of the Poor People’s Campaign?

In 1967, he created the Poor People’s Campaign with the goal of achieving economic opportunities and adequate housing conditions for poor Americans – regardless of color. King’s shift in ideology angered some of his supporters. However, local African American leadership in Memphis continued to support King and felt that his presence could help …

Where was King assassinated?

The following afternoon, King was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. King’s death caused a mixed reaction of mourning and rioting across the nation.

Who was the first African American elected to the Memphis City Board of Education?

By mid-November, a bi-racial committee negotiated a settlement that called for the creation of two at-large positions on the board. In 1971, Maxine Smith became the first African American elected to the Memphis City Board of Education.

Why did the Memphis sanitation workers strike?

On February 12, 1968, 1,300 Black sanitation workers in Memphis began a strike to demand better working conditions and higher pay. Their stand marked an early fight for financial justice for workers of color as part of the civil rights movement. The strike also drew Martin Luther King, Jr. and fatefully became the setting for his “I’ve Been to …

What happened to the Memphis protests in 1968?

The protest turned ugly when an outside group infiltrated the marchers and became violent, leading to the death of an African American teenager. Despite the tragedy, the strike continued, as did smaller demonstrations.

What was the purpose of the sanitation workers movement?

In 1968, King was building the Poor People’s Campaign to advocate for underprivileged Americans of diverse races. The sanitation workers’ movement was “one that was explicitly about the link between economic injustice and racial injustice," says Sokol, so it was "exactly the type of thing that King was working on.".

What was the NAACP’s main focus in the 1960s?

Until Memphis, both the NAACP and King had focused mainly on racial equality. The Sanitation Workers Strike broadened their efforts to advocate for workers’ rights. This was part of a larger trend of the time. “Class had always been an issue in the civil rights movement, but in the late ’60s [it] was having to deal with it explicitly,” says Steve Estes, author of I Am a Man!: Race, Manhood, and the Civil Rights Movement.

How much did garbage haulers get paid in Memphis?

Yet the city of Memphis expected garbage collectors to work long hours for meager wages and without overtime pay. Their compensation, 65 cents per hour, was so low that many were eligible for welfare and food stamps.

When did the Memphis garbage strike happen?

Two Sanitation Workers’ Deaths Spark Strike. Police close in on group of striking garbage workers in downtown Memphis on February 23, 1968 when a melee broke out during a peaceful demonstration by some 1500 strikers.

What happened to the Cole and Walker truck?

Cole and Walker had taken shelter from rain in the back of their truck, when it malfunction ed and both men were crushed to death. The fatalities sparked outrage—workers had been lobbying the city in vain for properly functioning equipment.

How many years has it been since Martin Luther King Jr. died?

“Next week, it will be exactly 50 years since the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Many Americans know that Dr.

Where was Martin Luther King assassinated?

Wednesday marks the 50 th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr, the Civil Rights activist and American icon, who was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis in 1968.

When was Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech?

Meanwhile you can watch Martin Luther King Jr. deliver the most memorable moment of his final speech on April 3 , 1968, below. About the Author.

Who was in attendance at the Film Foundation?

Saunders then tied it in to why he was in attendance at The Film Foundation event, alongside Dr. Carla Hayden, Jeanine Basinger, Catherine Gourley and Martin Scorsese.