The Memphis Sanitation Worker's Strike

In 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, the labor movement and the civil rights movement came together in a monumental struggle for human and public employee rights. On February 11, over 1,300 sanitation workers — nearly all were African American — went on strike demanding their basic rights to organize a union, to gain a living wage and to receive the respect and dignity due all working men and women. During the strike Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Memphis to support the workers but was tragically assassinated. This exhibit explores the drama of this historic strike where marchers wore signs simply stating:  I AM A MAN.

A Life Altering Experience

Wayne State University Walter P. Reuther Library

AFSCME leader Bill Lucy briefly discusses the impact participating in the 1968
Memphis sanitation workers strike had on him.
Filmed 10/10/2003. Digitized August 2011. Clip extracted December 2011.