Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968


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A 2019 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book * A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year * A Booklist Editors' Choice * A Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book * Booklist Top 10 Diverse Books for Middle Grade or Older Readers * A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books

"(A) history that everyone should know: required and inspired." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

This historical fiction picture book presents the story of nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s final stand for justice before his assassination—when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.

In February 1968, two African American sanitation workers were killed by unsafe equipment in Memphis, Tennessee. Outraged at the city's refusal to recognize a labor union that would fight for higher pay and safer working conditions, sanitation workers went on strike. The strike lasted two months, during which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was called to help with the protests. While his presence was greatly inspiring to the community, this unfortunately would be his last stand for justice. He was assassinated in his Memphis hotel the day after delivering his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" sermon in Mason Temple Church. Inspired by the memories of a teacher who participated in the strike as a child, author Alice Faye Duncan reveals the story of the Memphis sanitation strike from the perspective of a young girl with a riveting combination of poetry and prose.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629797182
Publisher: Highlights
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Edition description: Illustrate
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 127,902
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Alice Faye Duncan is the author of multiple children's books, including Honey Baby Sugar Child, which received an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Literary Work for Children.

R. Gregory Christie has illustrated more than fifty books for young adults and children. His work has won a Caldecott Honor, a New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books of the Year Award (two times), the Coretta Scott King Honor in Illustration (three times), the NAACP's Image Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. He currently operates his store of autographed children's books, GAS-ART Gifts, in Decatur, Georgia. Visit

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Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JSnia 7 months ago
"For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Another story I didn't know -- This picture book tells the story of Lorraine (Jackson) and her family during the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968. It all started when Echol Cole and Robert Walker, two black sanitation workers, were killed by a packer blade on an old truck. Sanitation workers knew the dangers and worked for the lowest pay, and they wanted change. After months of trouble, including the Beale Street riot, Martin Luther King, Jr. supported the cause, and was killed, even though he marched peacefully for a better life for all. Lorraine's father, William, had said, "Trouble don't last always." When the strike ended in April of 1968, the family celebrated, but also remembered: "So much was won. So much was lost. Freedom is never free." Back matter includes timeline and sources. This book is a new must-read for civil rights history. R. Gregory Christie's illustrations pair well with Alice Faye Duncan's words. Readers will learn more about "dreaming big" and more about lost history in the United States.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Beautifully written story about an important piece of the Civil Rights Movement. Picture book for older kids-- lots of text on the page, but necessary to tell the story.