Watch: Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Memphis Sanitation Workers Go on Strike

As the families of Echol Cole and Robert Walker struggled to put their loved ones to rest, a different kind of storm was brewing in Memphis, Tenn.—and Feb. 12, 1968, was a tipping point. Cole and Walker had only been dead for about two weeks, having been crushed to death by a faulty, outdated garbage truck, but their…

Watch: The Tragic Deaths of Robert Walker and Echol Cole Sparked 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike

Robert Walker, 30, and Echol Cole, 36, woke up on Thursday, Feb. 1, 1968, and went to work for the Memphis (Tenn.) Sanitation Department. They left their families for a long day of collecting garbage with the full expectation of returning home to them. Instead, as their shifts were about to end and heavy rain poured…

Watch: Our Video Series Shares Never-Been-Told Stories of the Memphis Sanitation Workers

In Memphis, Tenn., 1968, 1,300 sanitation workers braved the bitter cold to engage in a revolutionary 65-day action to defend their right to personhood. These men struggled against the noose of white supremacy to proclaim their dignity. They stood, shoulder to shoulder, armed with picket signs and perseverance,…