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ERIC Number: ED462357
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Court Documents Related to Martin Luther King, Jr., and Memphis Sanitation Workers. The Constitution Community: Postwar United States (1945 to Early 1970s).
Perry, Douglas
During inclement weather in Memphis, Tennessee in February 1968, two separate incidents caused black sanitation workers to strike for job safety, better wages and benefits, and union recognition. Mayor Henry Loeb was unsympathetic and opposed to the union. Martin Luther King agreed to lend his support to the sanitation workers and spoke at a rally in Memphis on March 18, 1968. He promised to lead the large march and work stoppage planned for later in the month. Unfortunately, violent disturbances at the march prompted the city of Memphis to bring a formal complaint in the District Court against King and his associates in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. This lesson relates to two clauses in the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which ensure individuals the right to assemble peaceably and to petition the government for the redress of grievances. As primary source documents, the lesson presents Defendants' exhibits 1 and 2 in "City of Memphis v. Martin Luther King, Jr. et. al," and the answer to Plaintiff in the same case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee (wherein King and associates denied being engaged in a conspiracy to incite riots). The lesson correlates to the National History Standards and the National Standards for Civics and Government. It provides historical background (15 resources); and suggests diverse teaching activities, including document analysis, class discussion, brainstorming, constitutional connection, creative expression, dramatic reading, dialogues, and extension research. Appended are a written document analysis worksheet and the documents. (BT)
National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20408. Tel: 866-325-7208 (Toll Free); e-mail: For full text:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Bill of Rights; First Amendment