Memphis, Tennessee, was the center of a national day of action for labor and oppressed Americans on the 49th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. April 4, 2017.
Fight for $15, Black Lives Matter and national religious and labor leaders came to continue the fight King died for. Memphis organizers led Fight for $15's national day of action, and there was a unified message, "straight outta Memphis," as Rev. William Barber said, that all peoples are connected in the struggle and must work together. Barber is president of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of Moral Mondays.
Mary Kay Henry, international president of the two-million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), joined Barber and others in firing up the crowd of more than a thousand before they marched from Memphis City Hall to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.
Fight for $15 seeks to raise the minimum wage so that hourly employees, such as restaurant and home health care workers, can form a union and make a living from their jobs.
“America, here is your wake-up call, straight outta Memphis,” Barber said. “You crucified Dr. King, but we are the resurrection.”
As political rallies and marches go, this one was set apart by a marching band -- and what march is not better with a band? -- the Talladega College Great Tornado Band and its dancing Dega Diamonds, who earlier this year had appeared at Mardi Gras and the Presidential inauguration in Washington.