Making History Accessible: The Sanitation Workers’ Strike of 1968

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Julie de Chantal


When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, the city had already been embroiled for two months in a heated struggle. King’s assassination triggered a national reckoning and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, yet in Memphis, sanitation workers were on strike protesting their poor and dangerous working conditions. The Sanitation Workers’ Strike disrupted everyday life in Memphis and showed how protests were going on across the nation besides the civil disobedience organized by Civil Rights leaders. Digital history, especially the platform Historypin, allows historians to reach a broader audience than in the traditional setting of academia. Using Historypin, this digital project uncovers the events leading up to the Sanitation Workers’ Strike of 1968 and how it progressed from a local city strike to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The project explores the reasons for the strike, the city officials’ reactions, and the strike’s attraction of prominent Civil Rights activists.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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