Editor’s Note: The Rev. Dr. William Barber II and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis are co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival. Barber is president of the North Carolina NAACP. Theoharis is the co-director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the authors.
Fifty years ago today, hundreds of black sanitation workers in Memphis walked off their jobs after two of their brothers were crushed to death by their truck’s faulty compactor. For more than 60 days, the striking workers made daily marches from the local church to city hall, wearing signs that declared, “I AM A MAN.”