Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop
A 2019 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
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 became his last stand for justice. He was assassinated at 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 unfolds the story of the Memphis sanitation strike from the perspective of a young girl with a riveting combination of poetry and prose. Featuring stunning artwork by Caldecott honor–winning illustrator R. Gregory Christie, this impeccably researched book also includes a timeline and list of sources.
Author: Alice Faye Duncan
Publisher: Calkins Creek Books 2018
Hardcover, 40 pages, Ages 9-12,