Originally published 04/03/2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — They rode the streets of Memphis in creaky, dangerous garbage trucks, picking up trash from home after home, toiling for a sanitation department that treated them with indifference bordering on disdain. In 1968 those workers took to the streets, marching with civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to demand better working conditions, higher pay and union protection.Forty-five years after King was killed supporting their historic strike, some of the same men who marched with him still pick up Memphis’ garbage — and now they are fighting to hold on to jobs that some city leaders want to hand over to a private company....
Originally published 03/21/2013
Officials in Memphis, Tenn., are girding for a rally called by a faction of the Ku Klux Klan at the end of the month, to protest the City Council's decision earlier this year to change the name of three Confederate-themed city parks.The council voted Feb. 5 to change the names of Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park, named for the Confederacy's president, and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, named for a Confederate lieutenant general who was also the KKK's first grand wizard. The new names are Memphis Park, Mississippi River Park and Health Sciences Park, respectively, though the council may change those names later.The council's move came in response to a bill moving through the Tennessee Legislature this year that would forbid local governments from changing names of any parks or monuments named for wars or war heroes, including those involving the Civil War....