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A Historic Week’s Events Commemorate the Tragedy and Triumph of 50 Years Ago

A Historic Week’s Events Commemorate the Tragedy and Triumph of 50 Years Ago
By Pete Levine ·

Memphis, Tennessee, will be the staging ground for a historic commemoration of both the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike.

It will also serve as the launching pad for a much bigger project named I AM 2018: taking the lessons learned from those events and applying them to today’s struggle for racial and economic justice.

The three-day “Mountaintop Conference,” to be held April 2-4, is part of AFSCME’s and the Church of God in Christ’s (COGIC) I AM 2018 campaign. It will feature political, labor and spiritual leaders from the across the country, major entertainment figures, organizers and activists, all of whom will focus on educating and mobilizing thousands of people at the grassroots level and building a sustained movement that advances labor rights, civil rights, economic rights and human rights.

The Mountaintop Conference, whose name comes from Dr. King’s prophetic “Mountaintop Speech,” delivered on the eve his April 4, 1968, assassination, will include panel discussions, activist trainings, rallies, entertainment and more – all centered on amplifying the legacy of labor and civil rights pioneers whose sacrifice made great progress possible, while issuing the call to accelerate the progress that is still needed in 2018.

This week’s events will include:

The Mountaintop Speech Commemoration: On April 3, 1968, Dr. King delivered from the pulpit of the Mason Temple what came to be known as “The Mountaintop Speech.” On Tuesday, April 3, 2018, that same stage will host a celebration of Dr. King’s final speech, with reflections and speeches by a variety of leaders and luminaries.

AFSCME Rally: On Wednesday, April 4, tens of thousands of people will march from AFSCME Local 1733 – which represented the original sanitation workers – to Mason Temple During the rally, elected officials, labor and faith leaders, celebrities and the original strikers will challenge the country to continue the struggle for justice for working families.

To learn more about the Mountaintop Conference and to get involved, visit

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