In 1968 sanitation workers went on strike right before the assassination. The Memoriesphis garbage collectors had gone on strike. Over 1000 men stopped working. They did this due to the neglecting of black workers. The black community worked together to keep on strike. Although many were arrested they still kept on strike. The whites had no one to clean up after themselves, the trash started to build up. The strike later lead to the recognition of the black workers. The wage got risen as well as the respect for the sanitation workers.
"If you stand up straight, people can’t ride your back. And that’s what we did. We stood up straight.” This is a quote from Taylor Rodgers, a principal organizer of strike that took place in 1968. Taylor was a regular man not trained in speeches. When two sanitation works got killed by the faulty of a compressor on the trash talk Taylor got inspired. Taylor shared his feelings with other workers and activist. When the workers heard what he had shared with them they became inspired as well. They were not going to stand up for what is right. This inspired his fellow employs to start striking. Taylor helped people realize they need to fight for what is right.
This is an image from the Memphis strike. The sanitation workers would march during the middl of the day. They carried signs that read "I am a man". James Lawson activist said this, “For at the heart of racism is the idea that a man is not a man, that a person is not a person. You are human beings. You are men. You deserve dignity.” Taylor was a regular man no t trained in speeches. Yet he inspired many workers to stand up for what is right.
The video above is a clip from Martin Luther King Jr. speach to the sanitation workers. This clip is relating to the I am a man. MLK talks about what it is to be a man. By the way the blacks were being treated was not human. MLK talks about how humanity has dignity and worth. He talks about how blacks are viewed as worthless. He believes the sanitation workers must gain much more respect. This inspires them to go on strike. The whites would have to realize they were not worthless and raise standards the hard way.
I wrote on this image what some of the protesters might be thinking. One is saying dehumanizations is a sin, this is because that follows along the I am a man protest. Another is saying this is unfair, because they are being denied rights. The others are saying how they deserve rights and what rights they should deserve.
In this video it talks about the hardships that the workers go through. It mentions how they work hard all day come home every day in filth. They make little money in most cases not enough to support a family. They were treated as nothing. Some people would put holes in there trash cans so the workers would get dirty. It also talks about what lead to the death of the two workers. It was because they were working in the rain, and something was trigger and the two men were crushed.
Later after MlKs speach the next day he was assassinated on April 8th. His wife led a march the next that over 42,000 people including sanitation workers and individuals that believed in their cause. Later on April 16th the city agreed to raise the wages of the black workers. The strikers threaten the city to raise them or they would go in strike again. Then the wages came through and were raised. Workers could get food stamps and heating assistance, but not everything was solved. Some workers when work was slow were sent home unpayed. Some minority workers were told if they took a break for more than an hour they would be sent home without pay for that day,
"Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike (1968)." Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike (1968). King Institution, n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2017. http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_memphis_sanitation_workers_strike_1968/
Boerson, Tyler J. "GET ON THE BUS 2003 | Day 2 - Memphis, Tenn." GET ON THE BUS 2003 | Day 2 - Memphis, Tenn. N.p., 2003. Web. 13 Jan. 2017.http://www.umich.edu/~onthebus/2003/day2.html
Memphis Sanitation Strike." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2017. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lawson_(activist)
Copley, Richard L. Image from I am a Man strike. Digital image. AFSCME and Dr. King. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 http://www.afscme.org/union/history/mlk
Levy, Ed. "Labor History: The Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike." Labor History: The Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 13 Jan. 2017.
YouTube video, https://youtu.be/rwAxryKHP3E
YouTube video, https://youtu.be/-nexr6uqit0