AFSCME Local 1733: Memphis, Tennessee Records

Accession Number: 
LR001992
Extent: 
2 linear feet (2 SB)
Date: 
1962-1974, bulk 1968-1970

Sanitation workers in AFSCME Local 1733 in Memphis, Tennessee led a strike in 1968 to gain union recognition. The strike lasted for 65 days and garnered national attention as Local 1733's campaign for labor rights became fused with the struggle for civil rights. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lent his support to the strikers by visiting Memphis and leading marches. While there, on April 4, 1968, King was assassinated. The strike was settled soon after King's death. Local 1733 went on to wage other campaigns for workers' rights, including a push to raise wages for public employees in the summer of 1969, a school boycott in the fall of 1969 that corresponded to the NAACP's drive for more racially diverse representation on the Memphis City Council, and a push to unionize workers at St. Joseph Hospital in the fall of 1969.

The vast majority of this collection consists of newspaper clippings that follow these campaigns in both local and national publications. Some additional material relating to the strikers' strategies and the organizations formed to support the strikers such as Community on the Move for Equality (C.O.M.E.) and Memphis U.S.A. also appears.

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