[icon_timeline timeline_line_style=”solid” timeline_line_color=”#afafaf” time_block_bg_color=”#f2f2f2″][icon_timeline_item time_title=”January 31, 1968″]Sanitation workers are sent home because of heavy rains. White employees are paid their full day’s wages. African-Americans are given only partial pay.

sanitation workers sent home in memphis[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 1, 1968″]Two African-American sanitation workers are crushed to death inside one of the city’s trucks.

sanitation workers crushed to death[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 12, 1968″]Sanitation and other public employees go on strike. According to the union, only 38 of the city’s 30 trash trucks work. Newly elected city mayor Henry Loeb says the strike is illegal.

sanitation workers go on strike[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 13, 1968″]A union demands the mayor recognize the union and asks for negotiations to resolve grievances. Loeb says new employees will be hired unless the strikers return for work.

mayor-loeb-memphis[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 14, 1968″]Thousands of tons of trash has built up around the city. Loeb demands that workers return to their jobs at 7 a.m. the next day. The city and the union halt negotiations.

trash-buildup-in-memphis[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 16, 1968″]The union asks the city council leaders to intercede, but the council stands behind Loeb. The local chapter of the NAACP supports the striking workers. The NAACP was vital in changing civil rights laws.


[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 18, 1968″]A Memphis rabbi moderates a meeting between Loeb and AFSCME members. The meeting lasts until early the next morning.

rabbi negotiations[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 19, 1968″]The NAACP and other groups picket and hold an all-night vigil at city hall.

naacp pickets in memphis[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 20, 1968″]The NAACP and AFSCME call for a boycott of downtown merchants.

boycott-of-businesses[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 22, 1968″]A city council sub-committee wants the city to recognize the union. The meeting ends with no action taken.

memphis-city-council-meeting[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 23, 1968″]The full council refuses to recognize the union. Police and strikers clash during a main street march.

police-and-strikers-clash[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 24th, 1968″]Black leaders and ministers form an organization supporting the strike and the downtown boycott. A court grants an injunction preventing the union from picketing or holding demonstrations.

unions prevented from stiking

[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 25, 1968″]Ministers call on their congregations to boycott downtown businesses and march.

mlk-and-minister[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 26, 1968″]A rumor circulates that the two sides have reached a compromise. Marches are held.

peace-march-memphis[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 27, 1968″]A compromise is met. A massive demonstration is held at city hall an about two dozen union members are cited for contempt of court.

memphis-demonstration[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”February 29, 1968″]Each striking worker receives a letter from Loeb asking him to come back to work, but the mayor still refuses to recognize the union. Two of the strike’s leaders are arrested for jaywalking.

mayor loeb letter[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 1, 1968″]A federal judge throws the union lawsuit out of court. Loeb blames the strikers for broken windows at his home.

federal judge memphis[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 3, 1968″]A gospel marathon, raises money for strikers. AFSCME files lawsuit in federal court.


[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 4, 1968″]Loeb opposes a Tennessee Senate proposal to create a state mediation board to resolve the strike.

tn-senate-proposal[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 5, 1968″]Ministers announce Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will come to Memphis. More than 100 people are arrested for a city hall sit-in.

mlk to memphis

[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 6, 1968″]Strike supporters are are blamed for South Memphis trash fires.

memphis-trash-fires[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 7, 1968″]City Council votes against checkoff proposal.

memphis-council[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 9, 1968″]The National Guard starts holding riot drills.

national guard starts drills[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 11, 1968″]High school students cut classes to march with black ministers. Two students are arrested.

students march with ministers[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 13, 1968″]Nine demonstrators are arrested for harassing downtown shoppers and are arrested.

demonstrators arrested

[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 14, 1968″]The head of the national NAACP tells a meeting of 10,000 people that the group support is strong, peaceful protests. Six people are arrested for blocking the entrance to the sanitation plant.

naacp meets with crowd

[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 16, 1968″]Loeb says the entire city should should vote on the dues checkoff questions in August. Union disagrees.

union-disagrees[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 18, 1968″]Newspapers claim the strike is failing as 90 garbage trucks work. King calls for a city-wide March 22 in front of 22,000 people.

memphis-papers-report[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 20, 1968″]Loeb restates┬áhis opposition to the union’s demands.

mayor loeb disagrees

[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 22, 1968″]The march is canceled as a massive snowstorm blocks King’s return. City and union agree to mediation and meetings begin.

memphis-snowstorm[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 27, 1968″]The mediation talks fall apart and the SCLC rallies in support of strikers.


[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 28, 1968″]Kings march is marred by violence. Police move into crowds with nightsticks, mace, teargas, and gunfire. State legislature authorized curfew and National Guardsmen move into the city.


[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 29, 1968″]300 sanitation workers and ministers stage a silent, peaceful, march to City Hall, escorted by armed guardsmen. Loeb turns down an offer from President Johnson and AFL-CIO President George Meany to assist in resolving the dispute.

george meany[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”March 31, 1968″]King cancels trip to Africa and plans a return to Memphis to lead a peaceful march. Ministers urge restraint . Attempts to renew mediation of strike fail.

mlk cancels africa trip to come to memphis[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 1, 1968″]The 7 p.m. city-wide curfew is lifted.

memphis pd enforce curfew[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 2, 1968″]The National Guard is withdrawn and hundreds attend 16 year-old Larry Payne’s funeral , who was fatally shot by police during March 18th protest.

larry payne funeral[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 3, 1968″]King returns to Memphis and delivers his “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech.

mlk mountaintop speech[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 4, 1968″]James Earl Ray assasinates Dr. King as he stands outside his balcony at the Lorraine hotel.

james earl ray[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 5, 1968″]Federal troops and Attorney General Ramsey Clark come to Memphis. The FBI begins an international manhunt for King’s assassin. Johnson tells undersecretary of labor James Reynolds to settle the strike.

ramsey-clark[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 6, 1968″]Reynolds begins meetings with Loeb and Union officials. Rarely are the opposing groups together in the same meeting.

reynolds meets loeb[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 8, 1968″]Coretta Scott King and dozens of national figures lead a peaceful memorial march through downtown.

coretta scott king memphis[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 9, 1968″]Dr. King’s funeral is held in Atlanta.

dr king funeral[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 10, 1968″]Reynolds stops up meetings with city and union officials.

union meetins stopped

[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”April 16, 1968″]The strike ends and city and union officials come to an agreement.

union meets agreement[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline]


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