Sanitation Strike Exhibit – January Edition

First Black City Council Members: Memphis Experiments with New Form of Government - On January 1st, 1968, thirteen members of the new Memphis city council took office. Among them were three black council members: Rev. James Netters, Fred Davis, and J.O. Patterson Jr. Despite blacks comprising a little less than 40 percent of the city’s population in 1968, these three men were the first black Memphians to hold […]
Mayoral Election Racially Divides Memphis - The 1967 mayoral election consisted of two rounds of voting: a first round with seven candidates and a runoff round between the two top vote getters from the first round. Ahead of the sanitation workers’ strike, the mayoral election polarized the city along racial lines. Henry Loeb, the eventual winner, won with a majority of […]
Sanitation Workers Sent Home Without Pay - Even though African American workers were usually full time employees, management within public works often treated many of them as disposable, to be sent home when not needed. The informal rainy day policy for public works provides the perfect example of this treatment. Though meant to save taxpayer dollars in an area of city government […]
This Week’s Profile: Henry Loeb - Either rightly or wrongly, Mayor Henry Loeb III has been blamed for creating the toxic environment where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to death by an assassin at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. It was Loeb’s obstinate refusal to agree to a dues checkoff for the union that allowed the […]
New York Sanitationmen Strike! - February 2, 1968 In the early morning hours of February 2nd when many are just waking, 7,000 people made their way to City Hall Park. These sanitationmen normally report to work at 7 A.M., but they gathered at 6:30 A.M. to represent their 10,000 members’ anger at the lack of progress made on contract negotiations. […]
What Else Was Going on in Memphis? Popular Music and TV in Late 1967 and Early 1968 - We share these events in order to provide a better understanding of the time frame of the Memphis Sanitation Strike. January 1968 In pop music, saying that 1967 is a massively influential year is almost an act of understatement. Both the United States and the United Kingdom delivered huge hits for the Beatles, the Doors, […]