Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Memphis, Martin, And The Mountaintop by Alice Faye Duncan

The Sanitation Strike Of 1968



This story is told through the eyes of 9-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who recounts her days as a child during the days of the Memphis Sanitation Strike. She also relates how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became involved in the strike and that he was murdered as he stood on his balcony at the Memphis motel.

The story is broken up into small segments with headings. It begins with sanitation workers (who are mostly black) and their unhappiness with the poor working conditions and unsafe equipment.
"Several Memphis garbage trucks were old and unsafe. The trucks were not maintained.
According to my daddy, a packer blade malfunctioned, crushing his friends.
 Daddy told Mama, "It ain't right to die like that."


And with those deaths began the unrest over their treatment, lack of decent wages, poor equipment, and the feeling that no one would take their concerns seriously.
"When they could take the abuse no more, 1,300 men deserted their garbage barrels. They organized a labor strike on February 12,1968."
The struggle continues even after Dr. King is killed. His wife, Coretta Scott King, flies to Memphis, committed to continuing her husband's work helping the sanitation strike with a nonviolent march.

The back page of the book has a timeline that is very helpful.

My Thoughts


What Concerned Me: Though many of the illustrations were quite good, some looked ill-proportioned.

I also wasn't a fan of the title. One, it's wordy and hard to remember. Two, The Sanitation Strike takes back seat to the title.

What I Liked Most: The story is broken up into small segments that make it very child-friendly and easy to comprehend.


Author: Alice Faye Duncan
Illustrator: R. Gregory Christie
Publisher: Calkins Creek; Illustrated edition (August 2018)


*ATOS Book Level:4.9
  • Approx. Word Count: 3060
  • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Pages: 40

* What is ATOS Book Level?
ATOS Book Levels use the ATOS readability formula and represent the difficulty of the text. For instance, a book level of 4.9 means the text could likely be read independently by a student whose reading skills are at the level of a typical fourth grader during the ninth month of school. 


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