In early 1968 the grisly on-the-job deaths of two African-American sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, prompted an extended strike by that city's segregated force of trash collectors. Workers sought union protection, higher wages, improved safety, and the integration of their work force. Their work stoppage became a part of the larger civil rights movement and drew an impressive array of national movement leaders to Memphis, including, on more than one occasion, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
King added his voice to the struggle in what became the final speech of his life. His assassination in Memphis on April 4 not only sparked protests and violence throughout America; it helped force the acceptance of worker demands in Memphis. The sanitation strike ended eight days after King's death.
The connection between the Memphis sanitation strike and King's death has not received the emphasis it deserves, especially for younger readers. "Marching to the Mountaintop "explores how the media, politics, the Civil Rights Movement, and labor protests all converged to set the scene for one of King's greatest speeches and for his tragic death.
National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.
Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information.
About the Author
Ann Bausum is the daughter of a history professor and grew up in Lexington, Virginia, with a love of American history and a passion for research. She writes books about US history for young people and adults, and many of her books deal with issues of social justice. Her books consistently earn prominent national recognition. "Denied, Detained, Deported "(2009) was named the 2010 Carter G. Woodson Book Award winner at the secondary school level from the National Council for the Social Studies. "Muckrakers" (2007) earned the Golden Kite Award as best nonfiction book of the year from the Society of Children s Book Writers and Illustrators. "Freedom Riders" (2006) gained a Sibert Honor designation from the American Library Association, and "With Courage and Cloth" (2004) received the Jane Addams Children s Book Award as the year s best book on social justice issues for older readers. She lives in Beloit, Wisconsin.
Named Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2013 by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the Children’s Book Council!
Named Noteworthy Title for Children and Teens by Capitol Choices!
Named a Choice Book of 2013 by the Cooperative Children's Book Center!