Johnnie Mosley, Chairman - Citizens For Better Service | 7/21/2017, 11:14 a.m.
Let the nation know the names of the ’68 sanitation workers!
Johnnie Mosley of Citizens For Better Service interacts with MATA workers after a Memphis City Council meeting at City Hall. (Courtesy photo)

I would like to thank The New Tri-State Defender for the story, #MLK50: Sanitation workers of ’68 get retirement help (July 13-19, 2017). As a son of a 1968 sanitation worker, I am grateful and humbled by this newspaper’s publication of the great news regarding the living 1968 sanitation workers. I have looked up to these men literally my whole life.

Prior to my father passing away 12 years ago, he worked with the Memphis Sanitation Department for more than 50 years. In honor of my father and his 1968 sanitation co-workers, I addressed the Memphis City Council on Tuesday, July 11, 2017.

I talked about the life lessons my father taught me. I talked about how the 1968 sanitation workers served as role models for me throughout my life. Lastly, I thanked the Memphis City Council and the mayor for doing the right thing for the living 1968 sanitation workers.

While I rejoice over the fact that the living 1968 sanitation workers can retire in peace, I am concerned that the 1968 Sanitation Workers will continue to be nameless to Memphis and America.

Although thousands of people around the world visit the National Civil Rights Museum each year, they will not find the names of the 1968 sanitation workers in the 1968 Sanitation Workers’ Exhibit inside the National Civil Rights Museum. Therefore, in a recent letter, I asked Mayor Jim Strickland to consider placing the names of the 1968 sanitation workers on the pavement of the future I AM A Man Plaza in Downtown Memphis.

I know that it will take a lot more work to research the names of more than 1100 sanitation workers who marched fought against poverty, discrimination and segregation. But if the plaza is to become a true testament to the 1968 sanitation workers who risked their lives for dignity, their names should be placed somewhere on the plaza.

As the nation turn its attention to remembering the 50th Anniversary of the death of Dr. King and the 1968 sanitation workers in 2018, the city of Memphis should step up to the plate and honor the 1968 sanitation workers by letting the nation know the birth names of these brave men. This will send a stronger message to the adult sons and daughters of the living and deceased 1968 sanitation workers that the City of Memphis really appreciates our fathers for making Memphis a better city and America a better nation.

Johnnie Mosley, Chairman

Citizens For Better Service