At The River I Stand Essay

901 Words Sep 16th, 2014 4 Pages
At The River I Stand This documentary takes us back to a time 100 years after slavery where the descendants were consigned to the bottom of the economic ladder. Yet, Memphis was spared the upheaval of Little Rock, Selma and Birmingham because of modest gains of access to movies, libraries and lunch counters. Nevertheless, the seething volcano was building up pressure in the public works department of Memphis. Complaints concerning malfunctioning equipment had been an ongoing cause. Although I 1963, T. O. Jones led 32 fellow workers off the job because of reprehensible conditions, it would not be until 1968 that on a rainy day an electrical short activated a garbage truck compressor crushing two men to death. The men had no workmen’s compensation, and no insurance leaving their families destitute. 1300 men feeling they had nothing to lose, walked off the job. The volcano became active with no pressure relief system. Newly elected Henry Loeb immediately ordered the men back to work declaring they were breaking the law. Battle lines were quickly drawn as the whites supported the mayor and the Negro community rallied behind the sanitation workers. T.O. Jones had succeeded in getting affiliation with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), but few of the men at that time were willing to risk losing their jobs. Mayor Loeb hired replacement workers when the men refused to go back to work. AFSCME president Jerry Worth arrives in Memphis to…

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