Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop
Book cover
The Sanitation Strike of 1968
Author(s): Alice Faye Duncan
Illustrator(s): R. Gregory Christie
Publisher: Calkins Creek Books (Boyds Mills Press)
Copyright Year: 2018
ISBN/ISSN: 9781629797182

Young Lorraine Jackson, a school-aged girl, tells the story of the Memphis Sanitation Strike and how it affected her family. Lorraine is based on the life of a real teacher who participated in the Memphis Sanitation Strike as a child. The background of why the strike occurred is explained and subsequent information is presented in chronological order. Prominent people, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached his last sermon to the sanitation workers the night before he was killed, are described. Some people who are not well known today, like Echol Cole and Robert Walker, who were killed when their garbage truck's packer blade malfunctioned, are also remembered. The boldly colored, vivid illustrations add to the meaning of the story. Although this event is tragic, it is told in a way that elementary children can understand and discuss without becoming overly emotional. The book could be read many times and new information would be discovered with each new reading. The text is comprised of both poetry and prose. Throughout the book, the author uses descriptive words that make this book excellent to use as a mentor text for writing. Each choice in diction conjures a specific meaning and acts as the perfect word to help the reader picture and feel what is happening in the story. There are also numerous quotes included in the text, which add to its historical authenticity. The book ends with a chronological index, a paragraph about the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, a page of sources with a source note, and a page of acknowledgments.

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Reviewer: Janet Luch
Rating: Highly Recommended
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC): 3-8
Review Date: November 1, 2018
Product Description
This historical fiction picture book presents the story of nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s final stand for justice before his assassination--when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.

In February 1968, two African American sanitation workers were killed by unsafe equipment in Memphis, Tennessee. Outraged at the city's refusal to recognize a labor union that would fight for higher pay and safer working conditions, sanitation workers went on strike. The strike lasted two months, during which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was called to help with the protests. While his presence was greatly inspiring to the community, this unfortunately would be his last stand for justice. He was assassinated in his Memphis hotel the day after delivering his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" sermon in Mason Temple Church. Inspired by the memories of a teacher who participated in the strike as a child, author Alice Faye Duncan reveals the story of the Memphis sanitation strike from the perspective of a young girl with a riveting combination of poetry and prose.
Media Type: Book, eBook
Binding: HC
Price: $17.95
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Historical Fiction
Entry ID: 2180145

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