Saturday, July 25, 2015

Late Summer 2015



 Later Summer 2015

We live in a new generation. The recent Supreme Court decisions have shown the world that we are in a change in America. We see subsidies from the ACA maintained. We witnessed the protection of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Also, we witness the historic decision of same sex marriage being legalized in all 50 states. Sincere people on both sides of this issue exist, but we must fight for justice and equality for all. The recent events in Charleston, South Carolina, Lafayette, Louisiana, etc. and throughout the Earth also show us that we have a long way to go. There are people who are not progressive that want bigotry, hatred, and oppression to reign in the world. Reactionaries like Donald Trump may talk in a vicious fashion, but we need investment in our country without xenophobia. Some people just worship capitalism and ignore the social conditions that cause the spreading of poverty in the world. Imperialism and capitalism are linked. That's historic, because capitalist interests of the British Empire including other European empires oppressed people of color for centuries. That is why revolutionary movements after World War 2 stood up not only against brutal colonization, but these movements wanted humanity to have freedom.  This doesn't mean that we  ignore the necessity of integrity in our communities. We must respect the youth and the elders. We must promote excellence and advance cultural growth and development. We should believe in ethics and never support social nihilism. We need integrity and we need the structures of oppression to be eliminated, so true freedom can flourish. In our generation, the capitalist elites use "democracy" as a guise to conquer the resources of the world. For example, the Western international power structure claims to support democracy, but they aid autocratic dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and they advance drone strikes in many continents constantly. That's not an example of true democracy. That's an example of hypocrisy. Today, we want imperialism to end, so a more cooperative world can exist for the entire human race. The prison industrial complex is totally bad in exploiting especially the lives of black men and black women. We have to talk about poverty and create solutions (like having living wages, creating investments in establishing affordable, great housing, building our infrastructure, support pay equity among all gender, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit in America, expand Medicaid, and end the mass incarceration system that has ruined so many lives for real) involving poverty instead of poor scapegoating. We want economic justice too. There can be no solution without the execution of economic and social justice.

Recently, protesters spoke to the Democratic Presidential candidates former Governor Martin O’Malley and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. The protesters were in a National Netroots Nation conference in July 2015 (the journalist Jose Antonio Vargas interviewed both Presidential candidates). They wanted the candidates to really address the issues of racism, police brutality, the criminal justice system, and other matters that are important to the black community. O’Malley has a known history of furthering the status quo on police related matters. Bernie Sanders has talked about income inequality (which is great), but he has minimized the evils of the War on Drugs and white racism against the black community. The protesters are in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has grown in the course of a few years.  Black Alliance for Just Immigration national coordinator Tia Oso and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors were among the many protesters there. The protesters talked to O’Malley about how black people’s lives are readily ignored in society. O’Malley responded that Black Lives Matter, Whites Lives Matter, and All Lives Matter. He was booed by many people, because many people use the term All Lives matter as a way to ignore the real issues confronting the black community. Many racists also use the term of All Lives Matter as a way to disrespect the Black Lives Matter movement and slander what that movement really stands for. O’Malley later apologized. When protesters confronted Bernie Sanders, Sanders said that he fought for civil rights for 50 years and he wanted economic solutions to handle the problem (Yet, Bernie Sanders has not talked about ending the militarization of the local police, the ending of the War on Drugs, the end to the prison industrial complex, ending the system of white supremacy, and other revolutionary solutions in a massive way). 

Typically, some folks act like some of what the young activists did was unique. It wasn’t since anti-war activists, environmentalists, immigration activists, and other people did similar actions. There is the issue of the nuclear radiation that came from the Fukishima explosion from Japan. The courageous Black Lives Matter activists have spoken directly to the Democratic establishment and said that our views matters. Later, O'Malley, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders talked about Sandra Bland (who passed away after she was arrested by the police. The police acted disrespectful towards Sister Sandra Bland). There is a criminal justice system that is extremely racist and classist. There is a situation where innocent black people have been killed by the police and others. There is a massive system of oppression in the world. People have the right to be upset at the two party system (which is dominated by corporate power, which link up with the military industrial complex in order to advance a wicked Empire including evil wars globally. War in essence is about the destruction of human life in an evil way. The evil of war caused more social instability, economic inequality, terror, ecocide, and racism) which carried much more about money and prestige than the freedom and justice of all black people.



The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike Movement

The Memphis Sanitation strike of 1968 was one of the greatest events in human history. This strike was led by black sanitation workers who were tired of human exploitation, economic oppression, and racism. Its history existed long before the 1960’s too. During the 1930’s, black workers and others (in groups like the CIO or the Congress of Industrial Organizations) fought for equality and labor rights. Their efforts were stymied by the efforts of white racists and business reactionary forces who wanted no recognition of a public union. Also, black people throughout America (not just in Memphis) suffered racism and even murder by bigots. Many people, who traveled into Memphis, came from the Deep South like Mississippi. Memphis is known for resources based on the river, music, various industries, and other diverse displays of beautiful culture. Memphis back then was also known for the evil of Jim Crow apartheid. This strike was the last campaign of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The victory of the strike unfortunately came after his assassination in April 4, 1968. Yet, we remember his legacy and we will always remember the men and the women who stood up for workers’ rights. This movement wasn’t just made up black people. There were many white people who fought in favor of equality and justice for black people. Likewise, black people have always had a leadership position in our black liberation movement too. I want to make that point clear. During the strike, the stubborn reactionary Mayor Henry Loeb fought against the strike until the end. He or Loeb was adamantly opposed to giving sanitation workers public union representation or recognition. 

There were so many names that were involved in this struggle for economic justice. Some of the major people involved in the strike are T.O. Jones, Ed Gillis, Bill Lucy, James Lawson, Cornelia Crenshaw, Jesse Epps, Tarlease Matthews (she was a civil rights activist in Memphis. She later changed her name to Adjua Naantaanbuu and founded Memphis Kwanzaa International. She passed away in 2008), Rev. P. L. Rowe, Jerry Wurf (AFSCME’s international President), P.J. Chiampa (or AFSMCE), and others. The young Invaders group (who were influenced by the Black Power movement. It had people like Charles Cabbage and Coby Smith) had ideological conflicts with more of the older civil rights groups (the older civil rights groups wants to use nonviolence as a method to resist oppression while the Invaders wanted to use also self-defense to fight back against tyranny basically). Although, by April 1968, the diverse factions of the strike movement would come together.

We have to know other people involved in this struggle like Rev. James Lawson, John Burl Smith (who co-founded the Invaders in 1967),  Andrew Young, Michael Cody (he is a white attorney who fought to get rid of the temporary injunction blocking the future April march in Memphis, Tennessee), Dorothy F. Cotton (she was a leader in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference back then and an executive staff member of the SCLC), Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles (he was a leader of COME), Rev. Jesse Jackson (he worked in Chicago and ran Operation Breadbasket), Ernest Withers (he was a civil rights photographer. He has been accused of being an FBI informant recently. Withers’ family has denied these charges), Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Charles Cabbage, U.S. Marshall Cato Ellis (he delivered the injunction to Dr. King in April 3, 1968), Bernard Lee (he was an aide to Dr. King), and so many other people.  


Jim Crow oppression in Memphis

Memphis from the 1940’s to the 1960’s grew massively in population. Yet, Jim Crow apartheid was still in the city. After Reconstruction, white racists oppressed black people continously. Black workers were restricted heavily from joining skilled labor. Sanitation workers had very low pay. Black workers were immediately fired for the most minor of reasons. The Mayor of Memphis Henry Loeb was a reactionary and he worked in public works projects. He wanted to maintain the status quo of having black sanitation workers to receive low wages, getting cheap equipment, and a refusal for the establishment of a public union to represent the black sanitation workers. Loeb ran for mayor as early as 1959. Back then, he was an open segregationist. By the early 1960’s, desegregation did exist in many areas of Memphis, but the right for economic rights remained nonexistent. Black people in Memphis struggled to have decent jobs with living wages and great working conditions. Black women also were discriminated by sex and gender. Many sanitation workers back then had to collect garbage with their hands. Many white supervisors would call black sanitation workers derogatory names and racial slurs.  According to Professor Honey, black sanitation workers were just paid between 94 cents and $1.14 per hour (and during the following years, hourly wages were never more than 5 center per hour above the minimum wage for laborers). In 1960, Thomas Oliver or T.O. Jones tried to organize a local union. He worked with O.Z. Evers, who was a neighborhood civic activist. Evers signed up sanitation workers as members of Teamsters Local 984. In Memphis, TN during the 1960’s, the sanitation workers were in involved in two strikes. 

The commissioner of Public Workers rejected Evers’ and Jones’ request. In fact, the Public Works Department fired Jones and 32 other workers since they organized the request.  In 1965, William Ingram was the new mayor of Memphis. He relied heavily on the African American vote i order for him to be mayor. Yet, Ingram was more moderate and was not standing up against the white racists who wanted the status quo. Sisson or the Public Works Commissioner fired union officers including T. O. Jones because of their fight for economic justice. Ingram reinstated token concessions like pay scales, heaters in some of the old trucks, etc. Yet, Sisson refused to recognize a public employee union. The first strike proposal was in August 1966 when Jones and other union organizers threatened to strike. The government threatened Jones with an injunction (or restrictions of free speech rights and the right to protest) and Jones ended his plans for his strike. That would change in 1968. On January 1, 1968, Henry Loeb was sworn in as mayor of Memphis once again. On Sunday, January 31, rain come about in the city.


The Strike begins

On the day of February 1, 1968, 2 African American sanitation workers were killed by an incident in a city truck. Both black men wanted to find shelter from the rain. Black workers were forced to work in the rain, even in harsh conditions. They were in the truck, the machine malfunctioned, and they were killed by the truck (being crushed to death). Their names are Echol Cole and Robert Walker. Enough was Enough. Sanitation workers and public employees would strike on February 12, 1968 (as a meeting in the Memphis Labor Temple). Leaders of this movement include T.O. Jones, Maxine Smith, P. J. Ciampa, James Lawson, Bill Lucy (who was an AFSCME organizer), etc. Loeb would try to replace the workers and he wouldn’t budge during the vast majority of the strike. During the marches of strikes, many of the protesters would met in a church, plan strategies, and march through the city’s downtown area constantly. The strike lasted for over 2 months.

The Memphis Sanitation Strike started on February 12, 1968. Only 38 of the 180 trucks moved during the beginning of the strike . Mayor Loeb made the premise that the strike is illegal since he wanted to reject any recognition of any public union in the city. He talked to people, but Loeb refused to budge. An International Union official flown in from Washington to meet the mayor. He calls for union recognition, dues checkoff, and negotiation to resolve the workers’ grievances. The Mayor said that he’ll send in new workers or scabs unless the strikers return to their jobs. There were people who protested in front of Loeb’s house. They were 7 black people and 4 white people. They were young people, made up of males and females, and they were sponsored by the NAACP. The NAACP wanted to escalate the strike in a more militant nonviolent direction. Some of the labor union members wanted to solely focus on economic issues while the black strikers and other black activists wanted the strike to be both about economic issues and racial justice. Many sanitation strikers would lose their jobs and income. So, church organizations and other political groups would provide the strikers with money and food. Activist Cornelia Crenshaw would provide the strikers with food too. Taylor Blair, T. O. Jones, Cornelia Crenshaw, Reverend Bell, City Council member J. O. Patterson Jr., and others were in a rally to discuss plans for the future. Clayborn Temple (which was a church) was a key staging ground for the protesters and the other activists who wanted the Memphis Sanitation workers to form a union. One of the strongest leaders in this movement was Rev. James Lawson. Like Dr. King, Reverend Lawson was a pacifist and he believed in nonviolent resistance. The Memphis NAACP endorsed the strike. AFSCME International Jerry Wurf arrived on February 18 on Sunday to support the strike movement. The Ministerial Association arranged a meeting between the Mayor and union leaders moderated by the Memphis Rabbi James Wax. Wurf accused Rabbi James Wax of being too moderate towards the Mayor in terms of negotiations. The NAACP and others stage an all-night vigil and picketed at city hall. On February 20, 1968, the union and the NAACP call for a citywide boycott of downtown merchants. Tensions would rise as the strikers (including the city Council subcommittee headed by Councilman Fred Davis) urged that the city recognize the union.



Struggle and Police Brutality in Memphis

On February 23, 1968, the Council refused to recognize the union. Strikers on that day marched on Main Street. The strikers are brutally assaulted unjustly by the police on that day. The cops pushed the protesters first. Later, one car ran over the foot of Gladys Carpenter, who was a black woman and a protester. Other protesters were struck with mace for no reason. A 60 year old black man was brutally assaulted by the police. The protesters were nonviolent, but the police had shotguns, rifles, and billy clubs to assault people. A black photographer Whittier Sengstacke Jr. photographed this movement too. He said that Ciampa was hit by mace and sanitation workers carried him away. Gillis was assaulted. Black protesters were hit with mace at random by the police, which hurt people's eyes and skin. On Saturday on February 24, Black leaders and ministers form a city wide organization to support the strike and the boycott. This organization was called COME or the Community on the Move for Equality. COME was an organization which were made up of many activist organizations. Carl Montgomery and other strikers used the “I AM A MAN” placard on themselves to march in Memphis. The city gets a court injunction to try to stop union from staging demonstrations or picketing on February 24, which was draconian and against the First Amendment. The ministers call on their congregation to boycott and march in the streets. The Mayor still refused to back down. The Union filed suit in federal court over the evil injunction on February 29.

On March 1, the Mayor met with black ministers and the windows of his home were broken. He blamed the strikers, which is ludicrous. A federal judge rejected the union’s suit. The community of Memphis on March 3 showed support for the strikers by rising money and there is an eight hour gospel singing marathon at Mason Temple (which raised money for the strikers). The mayor opposed State Senator Frank White proposing bill to create state mediation board to resolve the impasse. On March 5, ministers announced the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will come to Memphis as 116 strikers and supporters are arrested for sitting in at city hall. Seven union leaders are given 10 day sentences and fines for contempt of court on March 6. Strikers on that day stage a mock funeral at city hall lamenting the death of freedom in Memphis. 

The City Council voted against the dues checkoff proposal on the next day. There are trash fires in South Memphis. The supporters of the strikers are blamed for fires. Most of the Memphis newspapers supported Mayor Loeb. Loeb's supporters and most newspapers during that time demonize the strikers in classist, racist terms. During all of this time, the MPD (or the Memphis Police Department), the FBI, and the Military Intelligence services would illegally monitor the activists, the strikers, union leaders, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Even Memphis police leader Frank Holloman of Memphis had extensive ties to the FBI. The youth including students would skip high school to participate in the march in March 11, led by black ministers. 2 students were arrested. There is also the existence of the Invaders. Many founders of the Invaders were Charles Cabbage, Richard Cabbage, John Burl Smith, John Henry Ferguson, Milton Mack, and other young people. The Invaders promoted Black Power and wanted to end white racism. They viewed the ministers as too moderate and out of touch with the youth. The Invaders had suspicions about Dr. King in the beginning, because of his promotion of nonviolence, but later they allied with him as a bridge between the ministers and the youth activists. National NAACP leader Roy Wilkins and Bayard Rustin in March would speak to strikers. The scabs only operate 90 garbage trucks by mid-March. During tis time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was working on his Poor People's Campaign. This campaign was uniting people across colors in order to force the government to do something about the massive poverty situation in America. This campaign wanted economic justice for poor people in America. The goals of this agenda included billions of dollars to be spent to allow the federal government to make a commitment to full employment, to establish guaranteed annual incomes for Americans, funding for affordable, quality housing,  etc. As Michael K. Honey's "Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign" has accurately stated:
 

"...They had spent their lives in the civil rights movement and the Black church. Now, King called on them to organize a new multiracial constituency around class issues among Mexican-Americans, Indians, and poor whites as well as African Americans. SCLC did not have the resources and organizing structure to make it happen. Almost alone, King had to convince not only the civil rights community and a broader public, but also his own reluctant staff members, that they could organize the poor..." 

 ‘‘This is a highly significant event,’’ King told delegates at an early planning meeting, describing the campaign as ‘‘the beginning of a new co-operation, understanding, and a determination by poor people of all colors and backgrounds to assert and win their right to a decent life and respect for their culture and dignity’’ (SCLC, 15 March 1968). Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted Congress to pass an Economic Bill of Rights, so the poor can have true freedom and justice. 


James R. Reid, Hamilton High School (March 28, 1968). Special Collections, University of Memphis

The arrival of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Challenges

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Memphis, TN on March 18. He wanted Memphis to be successful before he implements fully the Poor Peoples Campaign. He sends his SCLC team with him (which includes people like Ralph Abernathy, Orange, Jesse Jackson, Bevel, etc.). In a rally, Dr. King speaks to about 17,000 Memphians in Mason Temple. He spoke about economic justice and he called for a citywide march on March 22, 1968.


A snowstorm in Memphis blocked Dr. King’s return. The march comes in March 28, 1968. It fails since some people were violent and broke windows. The police overreacted. The police killed an 16 year teenager named Larry Payne. They or the cops used tear gas. They assaulted people. The police ran people to churches and assaulted people near a church and used tear gas near a church. 280 people are arrested and about 60 people are injured. 

 

There was a curfew and National Guardsmen moved in at Memphis.  Dr. King and the 14 labor leaders are dismayed, but they carried on. On March 29, 300 sanitation workers and ministers marched peacefully and silently from Clayborn Temple to City Hall. They were escorted by five armored personnel carriers, five jeeps, three military trucks and dozens of Guardsmen with bayonets fixed. President Johnson and AFL-CIO President George Meany offer assistance in resolving the dispute, but Loeb turned them down. March 31, 1968 was when Dr. Martin Luther King in the National Cathedral (in Washington, D.C.) called for peace, an end to the Vietnam War, and economic justice. On April 1, the curfew is lifted. The funeral of Larry Payne happened on April 2, 1968. Hundreds of human beings attend his funeral. The National Guard was soon withdrawn from Memphis.  Dr. King met with the Invaders at first  in April 3, 1968. The Invaders during that day refused to promote nonviolence in the upcoming march in Memphis.  Dr. King calmed other SCLC members who are angry at the Invaders (since they were accused of acting as agent provocateurs whom some of the Invaders vehemently deny). Now, we do know that Marrell McCullough (who was once an Army MP) was an undercover Memphis police agent back then. He was a mole. He joined the CIA in 1974, so Marrell is a traitor. Marrell McCullough  infiltrated the Invaders group. We know about COINTELPRO, which was an FBI program, which was formed to harm the anti-war, civil rights, labor, and other progressive movements.  Many FBI agents were in Memphis to illegally monitor the movement too. Members of the 111th Military Intelligence Group of the U.S. Army Military Intelligence monitored Dr. King illegally (and they had an office in the downtown Memphis federal building).



The last 2 days while Dr. Martin Luther King was on this Earth are certainly filled with courage and inspiration. Dr. King arrived in the Memphis airport in 10:33 am. on April 3, 1968. He came to Memphis late, because of a bomb threat in Atlanta. 7 minutes later, Dr. King holds a brief press conference to many reporters inside of Gate 17. Asked if he will obey an expected injunction banning a march through Downtown Memphis, King says, “I’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.’’ Six police officers, all in plainclothes, look on. Dr. King then goes into the front seat of the Memphis activist Tarlease Matthews’ Buick Electra. In the back seat are his advisers Ralph Abernathy Andrew Young, and Bernard Lee. Trailing them in a Lincoln Continental is Dorothy Cotton of the SCLC. Dr. King arrives in the Lorraine Hotel at 11:20 am. on April 3, 1968. He and Abernathy check into Room 306, which opens to the motel’s second floor balcony. Dorothy Cotton is next door in Room 307. Young is downstairs in Room 209. From 11:20 am. to Noon, police cruisers arrive at the Lorraine to form a ring of security around the motel. In 12:05 am., Dr. King’s entourage departs for Centenary United Methodist Church in South Memphis. 

Dr. King rides again with Sister Tarlease Matthews in her Buick Electra. Plainclothes police follow them. Dr. King and others go to the Centenary Methodist church to discuss strategies about the upcoming march with Rev. James Lawson. Dr. King is driven back to Lorraine by 2:25 pm. Dr. King then eats lunch with the Invaders about hoping to convince them to do nonviolence in the upcoming march. It would be on 2:48 pm. that the U.S. Marshall will serve Dr. King restraining order of injunction. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decides to go forward despite the injunction. By 3 pm., he meets with a group of lawyers in the Lorraine, who are trying to get rid of the injunction. The lawyers’ names are Lucius Burch, Michael Cody, Charlie Newman and Walter Bailey. He tells the lawyers “my entire future depends” on the success of a peaceful march in Memphis. Dr. King’s staff continues to talk with the Invaders. When Charles Cabbage asks for money from Dr. King’s group for a liberation school and other programs, Dr. King offers to help get funding. At night time, Dr. King is resting while Ralph Abernathy arrives at the Mason Temple to speak to strikers after 8pm. on April 3.  



Dr. King's Assassination and the Strike Continues


The night of April 3 was stormy in Memphis. Ralph Abernathy had to call Dr. King from the Lorraine Hotel to come to the Mason Temple. Dr. Martin Luther King awakes from his rest and travels into the Mason Temple to deliver his great speech. On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would say his final public speech, which would be the historic “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” in Mason Temple. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of his greatest speeches in his life. He talked about history, economic justice, and the struggle in Memphis. His last prophetic words in the speech were the following: "... Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!.."

After the speech, the crowd in the church cheered in applause.  Dorothy Crook praised the speech and she would be a president of Local 1733. After the speech, Dr. King celebrated and eat food in Reverend Ben Hook's house. During the early morning, Dr. King met with A.D. King (or Dr. King's brother), Ralph Abernathy, Kentucky State Senator Georgia Davis, and SCLC administrative aide Lucy Ward to talk about future plans in the Lorraine Hotel. After a brief SCLC strategy meting on 8 am. in April 4, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to bed.

On Midnight of April 4, 1968, Dr. King’s brother A.D. William King arrived at the Lorraine Hotel with Georgia Davis Powers (or the newly elected state senator from Louisville, Kentucky back then) and her friend Lucretia Ward. The trio drove from Florida where they’d been vacationing. At 1:00 am., Dr. King, Abernathy, and Bernard Lee returned to the Lorraine. The door to Room 207 is open. Lucretia Ward spots Dr. King and asks him to come over and Dr. King spends much of the early hours of April 4th talking to his brother A.D., Davis, and Ward. By 4 am., Davis goes to Room 201. By 5 am, Dr. King goes up to Room 306, which is the room that he shares with Abernathy. During 9:30 am, there is the hearing on the injunction in federal court. The morning of April 4th, 1968 is dominated by testimony from Police and Fire Director Frank Holloman and others asking Brown to forbid a second march. Southern Christian Leadership Conference aide Dorothy Cotton suddenly leaves on an Eastern Airlines jet returning to Atlanta on 11:40 am. The police monitored King from a peephole in the fire station across the street receive a telephone threat on 12:25 pm. A woman tells Officer Ed Redditt (who was monitoring Dr. King too): “You’re doing your own black people wrong and we are going to do you wrong.’’ On 1 pm. King and Abernathy had lunch in the Lorraine and they ate a platter piled high with steaming catfish. Rev. James Lawson takes the stand in federal court on 1:05 pm. Lawson called Dr. King the “the primary prophet in the United States” and “the major voice of hope,” he tells Brown that although King was at the front a March 28 protest march through Downtown, he wasn’t involved in its planning or organization. Andrew Young testifies in court too, so the injunction can be lifted. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talks with his Brother A.D. King, Davis, and Ward in the early afternoon.  By 3:00 pm., in a meeting in Room 306, King and his aides grapple over the Invaders. Hosea Williams tells King he wants to put Invaders leader Cabbage on the SCLC payroll. King bristles and said to Hosea: “Hosea, no one should be on our payroll that accepts violence as a means of social change.” Detective Redditt is pulled from his surveillance post at the firehouse. Police brass removed Redditt after determining there is a plot to kill or harm him. Andrew Young returned to the Lorraine (on 4:30 pm.) where, in Room 201, he briefs King, Abernathy and others. Playfully, King and Young engage in a pillow fight. On 5:50 pm., John B. Smith, Charles Cabbage, Milton Mack and about eight other members of the Invaders carry their bags downstairs and leave the Lorraine after they’re told that the SCLC will no longer pay for their rooms. Some climb into a light blue Mustang driven by Cabbage. Afterwards, Dr. King and his aides prepare for dinner. Rev. Kyles emerges from Room 312 and knocks on King’s door on 5:51 pm, saying they need to hurry if they are to eat at his house and make a rally later in the evening. King and Abernathy tease Kyles about another dinner they had at a preacher’s house that featured a meatless hambone.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also told Jesse Jackson that he wanted the song "Precious Lord" to be song by Ben Branch at the night's rally. Abernathy was in the room 306 to prepare for dinner. Later, Dr. King saw Orange, Bevel, and Young wrestling in a playing fashion in the parking lot. Dr. King joked with Orange since Orange was a tall, big man. At just after 6:00 pm. on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot by a bullet. The  fast moving, strong bullet went to his jaw and he fell to the ground. The bullet came from a rifle. Abernathy, Kyles, Jackson, and others ran to his aide. He was sent to the hospital where he passed away. News spread of his death and rebellions occurred in over 100 cities nationwide. Many of the strikers cried. Coretta Scott King was told of the news by Jesse Jackson when she was shopping with Yolanda. The King family and friends cried in the Atlanta airport. Coretta Scott King has shown amazing strength and courage. She used her power to inspire the Memphis sanitation workers to carry onward with the strike.



The Memphis sanitation strikers win

From the beginning the federal government believed that the lone assassin James Earl Ray murdered Dr. King. It is important to note that a landmark court case in America found that the United States government was responsible or the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1999. President Lyndon Johnson instructed Undersecretary of Labor James Reynolds to mediate the strike settle on April 5. Reynolds meets with Mayor Loeb and meetings came about. Mrs. Coretta Scott King and dozens of national figures lead a peaceful memorial march throughout downtown Memphis in tribute to Dr. King and in support of the strike. Funeral services are held for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta at April 9, 1968. During the next day, Reynolds continues with the meetings with city and union officials, most without publicity. By Tuesday on April 16, 1968, AFSCME leaders announce the agreement has been reached. The strikers vote to accept it. The strike is finally over. People celebrate and many cried. Memphis sanitation workers have fought and won a battle in the overall struggle for racial and economic justice. The struggle for liberation is not over, but this important story must be told, so people can know that economic justice is not only important, but it's a necessity in our world. 

By Timothy

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