CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

National News

April 4, 2013

Memphis march honors slain civil rights leader MLK

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Hundreds of union members and their supporters marched in Memphis on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s murder, calling for a new commitment to the human rights causes he died for.

With the march and a dedication ceremony Thursday, they honored King and the sanitation workers strike that brought him to Memphis, where he was assassinated in 1968.

In a light drizzle, more than 1,000 marchers wore T-shirts with union logos and held signs saying "We are Memphis" or bearing the slogan for the 1968 strike: "I am a man." Participants came from as far as Louisiana, California and New York.

Surviving Memphis strikers Baxter Leach, Alvin Turner and the Rev. Leslie Moore joined the marchers when they arrived at a rally at the National Civil Rights Museum, built on the site of the old Lorraine Motel where King was shot down.

Moore, 66, was in his early 20s at the time of the strike. He still drives a truck for the Memphis sanitation department.

"Something lifted off of us when Dr. King came to Memphis," Moore said in an interview days ahead of the march. "Before he came, we had a hard time. When he came, it looked like everything brightened up, a light began to shine out."

Speakers at the rally included Martin Luther King III and Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

City officials had begun the day by dedicating a section of historic Beale Street to the 1,300 sanitation workers who walked off their jobs in February 1968 after two garbage collectors were crushed to death in a malfunctioning truck. The strikers demanded — and eventually received — higher pay and safer working conditions.

The street, named "1968 Strikers Lane," runs in front of the headquarters of AFSCME Local 1733. Martin Luther King Jr. supported the union when he came to Memphis to make speeches and march with the workers.

The civil rights leader was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel when he was killed by a rifle bullet on April 4, 1968. James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to the killing and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He died in prison in 1998.

Speaking at the street dedication, King's son said workers still face challenges like the ones they fought to overcome in 1968. He said his father's campaign for racial and social equality through nonviolent means still has meaning.

"He was talking about real issues that uplift the quality of life of all people," he said.

During the march, members of the local firefighters union chanted "Four point six, four point six" for the 4.6 percent pay cut they were forced to take in a cost-cutting move by the city. They are demanding an end to the pay cut, which has also affected police officers.

The city and workers unions are negotiating. A central issue is the 2011 pay cut. AFSCME also plans to meet with the city to discuss the possible privatization of the sanitation department.

Candis Collins came from Wynne, Ark. to support her fellow AFSCME members. Collins was a 17-year-old mother, sitting at home in a rocking chair with her young child, when she heard on the news that King was dead.

"I was just devastated, you know, when he was assassinated," said Collins, 62. "I'm here today because unions make a difference in the lives of workers."

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Fort Hood (UPDATED) Officials: 4 dead, including gunman, at Fort Hood

    A gunman opened fire Wednesday at Fort Hood in an attack that left four dead, including the shooter, law enforcement officials said.
    One of the officials, citing official internal U.S. Justice Department updates, said 14 others were hurt. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information by name.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp file Hoffner Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

    The president of Minnesota State University-Mankato accused a football coach of looking at Internet porn on a work computer before firing him, an arbitrator has revealed. The official said the claim could not be supported, and the coach shouldn't have been fired.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • High School Stabbings 4 students seriously hurt in Pa. school stabbings

    A student armed with a knife went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning, leaving as many as 20 people injured, including four students who suffered serious wounds, authorities said.

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Obit Ultimate Warrior Former pro wrestler Ultimate Warrior dies at 54

    James Hellwig, better known as former pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior, has died, the WWE said. He was 54.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_amazonfiretv.jpg Amazon introduces Fire TV to challenge Apple in living rooms

    Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is stepping up efforts to win over customers in their living rooms with a $99 TV box for watching digitally delivered shows and movies, challenging Apple's TV device.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Washington Mudslide Death toll in Washington mudslide rises to 30

    As medical examiners painstakingly piece together the identities and lives of the 30 people known killed when a mudslide wiped out a small Washington community, one mystery troubles them.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Fort Hood Fort Hood gunman sought mental health treatment

    An Iraq War veteran being treated for mental illness was the gunman who opened fire at Fort Hood, killing three people and wounding 16 others before committing suicide, in an attack on the same Texas military base where more than a dozen people were slain in 2009, authorities said.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court Campaign Big donors may give even more under court’s ruling

    The Supreme Court ruling Wednesday erasing a long-standing limit on campaign donations will allow a small number of very wealthy donors to give even more than is currently the case, according to students of the complex campaign finance system, and could strengthen the establishment in both parties.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo