For Immediate Release
Contact: Nick Voutsinos

The Story of I AM: AFSCME to launch podcast series covering the legacy of the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike

The series will feature exclusive interviews with Memphis sanitation strikers, Martin Luther King III, the Rev. James Lawson, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, and more.


WASHINGTON — This April, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) will launch an exclusive podcast series exploring the history and legacy of the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike titled “The Story of I AM”. From the deadly accident that sparked the strike to the direct support and involvement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this story and the iconic declaration of the strikers, “I AM A MAN,” captured the nation.


“The civil rights movement and the labor movement have always been two sides of the same coin,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “No event in our history demonstrates this inherent truth more than the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike. Those brave strikers marched against a racist system that refused to recognize their humanity, forcing them to live on poverty wages and exposing them to dangerous working conditions. Telling their story is not just about reflecting on the past. It is a call to action today – to fight against poverty and prejudice, to advance the rights and freedoms of all working people.”


The Story of I AM podcast series will feature interviews with Martin Luther King III, President Saunders, the Rev. James Lawson, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus Bill Lucy, strikers who took part in the 1968 demonstrations, and current Memphis sanitation workers who continue to fight for dignity and respect.


The promotion of this podcast will begin during Black History Month, exactly 55 years after the strike began on Feb. 12, 1968. The launch will coincide with the anniversary of the death of Dr. King, who was assassinated while in Memphis to support the strikers.


The podcast will also explore the lasting impact of the strike in Memphis and throughout the country.


“Many of the injustices that drove these courageous workers to organize still exist in workplaces today,” said Saunders. “That is why it is vital we never forget the meaning behind the words, ‘I AM A MAN,’ and the history of the Memphis sanitation strike. We are proud to tell this story and to carry the legacy of this strike forward.”


Visit to listen to the preview trailer and learn more about the podcast.