On 1 February 1968, two Memphis garbage collectors, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death by a malfunctioning truck. Eleven days later, frustrated by the city’s response to the latest event in a long pattern of neglect and abuse of its black employees, 1,300 black men from the Memphis Department of Public Works went on strike….. This is the social landscape on which Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: THE SANITATION STRIKE OF 1968 was set. Memphis, Martin and the Mountaintop is a historical fiction book based historical facts and the memories of Lorraine Jackson, who was a child at the time of the strike.  The book is a combination of prose and poetry which gave raw emotion to this confessional style story. I’m over the moon to be able to share this book with my readers in time for Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: THE SANITATION STRIKE OF 1968 is engaging, informative body for work that should be an essential read for everyone.


The Review


Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop at the start reminded me of Act 1 of Fences, the play, by August Wilson. Perhaps it was palpable mixture of anger, frustration and fear. Like Mr Jackson, Troy Maxson (in Fences) was a sanitation worker. However, Fences ends in 1965 Philadelphia and Memphis events began in 1968. The book is geared towards 8 -12 years old. It’s delivered an honest, age appropriate recount of events which led up to the strike to the end of it.

The title Memphis, Martin and the Mountaintop draws from title from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s  speech ‘I’ve Been To The Mountaintop’. Dr. King Jr. gave the speech on the night of 3rd April 1968, in support of the sanitation workers strike. He said…

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land.  

A modern day Moses, Dr. King Jr., he’d led his people to the border of the Promised Land but he was unable to go further. Dr. King Jr. was assassinated on 4th April, 1968.

Each word in Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop is precious. Lorraine’s voice is at first curious  and concerned as a child develops to what I think was her mature self; she looked back upon the events. She tells us ‘Freedom is never free.’  The illustrations perfectly complement the book. It draws us in to the private spaces, peer at the faces and feel the emotions of Lorraine, her family and the nation. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It made me fall in love deeper in love with the power of words. History continuously shows us that one man can make a difference but if we join together, we cannot be beat.

For more information on Alice Faye Duncan’s books visit her website. Additionally, teachers can access free lesson plans and a PowerPoint to use with their students on Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: THE SANITATION STRIKE OF 1968, from her website.


Book Details

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop



Illustrated by R. GREGORY CHRISTIE

Hardcover | $17.95 
Published by Calkins Creek
Aug 28, 2018 | 40 Pages | 8-1/2 x 11| Middle Grade (8-12)| ISBN 



Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day
 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-2eN

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on it Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.


Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.




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