It was a week of filled with somber commemorations – of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Memphis, Tennessee, sanitation workers’ strike, both of which took place in 1968. The events in Memphis during the first week of April were also marked by renewal and promise as people recommitted to fighting for the rights that Dr. King and the sanitation workers had pushed for 50 years ago.
The events, included an activist training, youth town hall and “Mountaintop Commemoration,” where speakers such as AFSCME President Lee Saunders and Dr. King’s surviving children spoke at the site of the historic “Mountaintop speech” Dr. King delivered in Memphis the day before his death.
On the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, an estimated crowd of 10,000 people participated in I AM 2018 rallies and marches. The week served as the launching pad the I AM 2018 campaign, in which the lessons learned from 1968 will be applied to today’s struggle for racial and economic justice through non-partisan civic engagement efforts such as voter registration, issue advocacy and education and voter mobilization in 2018 and beyond.
The week’s events attracted widespread media coverage, including these examples:
- Memphis Rally Embodies Dr. King’s Activist Spirit (New York Times)
- Pledging to Carry on His Mission, Thousands Mark 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death (Los Angeles Times)
- Thousands Attend MLK50 Commemoration in Memphis but for Different Reasons (The Undefeated)
- Crowds, Activists, MLK's Children Remember Him at the Sacred Place of his Last Speech (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)
- I AM 2018 Movement Builds on ‘Mountaintop’ Energy (The New Tri-State Defender, Memphis)
Here’s a gallery of images from the I AM events held in Memphis.