Sending Office: Honorable Steve Cohen
Sent By:

Resolution Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike

H.Res. ____

Dear Colleague,

On February 1, 1968, Memphis sanitation workers Echol Cole, 36, and Robert Walker, 30, climbed inside a garbage truck amid putrefying trash and dead chickens in a driving rain and were crushed to death when the compactor malfunctioned. Twelve days later,
frustrated by the city’s response to the latest event in a long pattern of neglect and disrespect for of its black employees, 1,300 black men from the Memphis Department of Public Works went on strike.

Sanitation workers demanded recognition of their union, better safety standards, and higher wages. Their fight – symbolized by strike placards reading “I AM A MAN” – brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis. On April 4, 1968, during the labor dispute,
Dr. King was assassinated on the balcony outside his room in the Lorraine Motel, now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.

I will be introducing a resolution next week commemorating the death of Cole and Walker, the sanitation workers’ strike, 

and the assassination of Dr. King, and I invite you to join me by cosponsoring.

If you would like to receive a copy of the resolution text when it becomes available, please contact Jackson Pineau ( or 5-3265) in my office.




Congressman Steve Cohen                                         

Member of Congress               

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Judiciary

Related Bill Information

Bill Type: H.Res.
Bill Number: TBD
Special Note:

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