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.
Alice Faye Duncan is the author of several books, including the classic NAACP Award–nominated board book, Honey Baby Sugar Child, and Just Like a Mama. Ms. Duncan is a school librarian in Memphis, Tennessee, and conducts writing workshops for parents and educators. Her latest picture book, Memphis, Martin and the Mountaintop, received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.
R. Gregory Christie has illustrated over forty books and is the recipient of numerous awards including the NAACP’s Image Award in Illustration. His books include Bad News for Outlaws and Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. He lives in Georgia.