“I AM a Man!”: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Memphis Sanitation Strike

Lecture Description

Photographs of the Memphis sanitation strikers bearing their “I AM a Man” placards in 1968 now appear on book jackets, in films, and elsewhere, but where did that slogan come from? What did it mean to those who held the signs and to observers at the time? Ironically, not only the striking men but working-class women and more privileged African Americans also identified with this declaration of manhood by the poorest and most degraded Black laborers. This lecture explores these questions while also considering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s participation in the strike and his tragic assassination just days after these placards first appeared on the streets of Memphis.


Civil Rights

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