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Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Hours
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Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Hours

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  66 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In early 1968 the grisly on-the-job deaths of two African-American sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, prompted an extended strike by that city's segregated force of trash collectors. Workers sought union protection, higher wages, improved safety, and the integration of their work force. Their work stoppage became a part of the larger civil rights movement and drew a ...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by National Geographic Children's Books (first published December 27th 2011)
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Richie Partington
Sep 17, 2012 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing

“How many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free”
-- Bob Dylan

“This book is about the story of garbage in one city – Memphis, Tennessee – and the lives of the men tasked with collecting it during 1968. These men, all African American, labored brutally ha
Debbie Graham
May 15, 2012 Debbie Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
$44 in extra wages to their garbagemen would have prevented rioting in Memphis, costing the government 1/2 million dollars. This book describes in gory detail the plight of garbageworkers in the 1960s and takes us through the stages of Martin Luther King's selfless efforts to organize an effective non-violent strike in Memphis. This leads of course to his untimely death. The book is very well researched and laid-out, with well-chosen quotes and photographs, and would be fine for a strong 8th gra ...more
Karen Ball
In the city of Memphis in the 1960's, the 1,100 black men who worked for the city collecting garbage had more in common with slaves than free men. Their pay was so low they could qualify for welfare. They had to supply their own work clothes and were given inferior and damaged equipment to work with. When two men died after being pulled into the compacting unit on their truck in 1968, and the city did little to help their families or change working conditions, the workers decided to do something ...more
Although much has been written about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while he was in Memphis to encourage the striking sanitation workers and the Poor People's Campaign, little has been written about the strike itself. As she has done in her previous books on women's suffrage, immigration, and civil rights, the author provides intriguing little-known details about the time period and King's involvement in the Memphis campaign. Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb refused to budge from his p ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Michele rated it really liked it
Item Title: Bausum, A. (2012). Marching to the mountaintop: How poverty, labor fights, and civil rights set the stage for Martin Luther King Jr.’s final hours. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.

Citation created by: Michele Powell

Format: Biography

Call Number: 323.092 BAU

Description: An in-depth account of the important events that led up to Kings assassination; photos are dispersed throughout the narrative. A cast of characters glossary is included before the narrative.

Professional Review:
Jamie A. Swenson
Dec 02, 2011 Jamie A. Swenson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All students of American History
I was fortunate to see an advance of this book - and let me tell you - it's going to get a lot of great (well-deserved) reviews. Siebert Honor recipient, Ann Bausum has brought her amazing ability to bring history alive to the events surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Bausum's ability to connect with the emotions surrounding historical events is second to none. This book should be required reading for middle and high school students (and teachers). Bausum's clear, concise wr ...more
Becca Kirkman
This covers three parts of the Civil Rights movement- the labor strike, poverty and death of Martin Luther King Jr.
This will be a good nonfiction book to use in a Civil Rights Movement unit.
Jun 29, 2013 Dolores rated it it was amazing
The subtitle made me a bit wary, but this was a very interesting read. "Mountaintop" portrays the plight of the Memphis sanitation workers and covers the last few months of Martin Luther King Jr's life. It is painful to see him sad and discouraged in the pages of this book. But so inspiring to know that he made the decision to put his life at risk with his eyes wide open--that he always suspected he might be killed for his advocacy. This book is an important reminder of the hard work and terribl ...more
Michelle King
Jul 06, 2013 Michelle King rated it really liked it
This book gives a great account of the unrest that was occurring Memphis during the late 1960's. It reads chronologically and more like a narrative which will appeal to the common core standards for informational texts.

I like the use of photographs and large quotes. I did find it a little difficult to keep up with all of the "key players" during the majority of the text because there are so many. I wonder if my students would feel the same way. While there are some fantastic supplemental inform
Peter Brickwood
Mar 01, 2014 Peter Brickwood rated it really liked it
Useful and interesting insights into the strike in Memphis.
Caroline Mcphail-Lambert
Feb 19, 2016 Caroline Mcphail-Lambert rated it it was amazing
Great photos, short history of King's final days.
Mar 28, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
A thorough and engaging look at the Memphis sanitation workers' strike in 1968, and the events leading up to the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. Bausam does a terrific job of contextualizing the workers and their work as a prelude to discussing the strike. Photographs enliven the text, and her fluid writing make this history read like a novel. This would be an excellent nonfiction book to complement a history class studying the 1960s civil rights movement or an English class looking at King's ...more
Unfair working condition involving the Memphis sanitation workers draws attention from Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent Civil Rights activists and plays a role in the larger Civil Rights Movement.

Written like an extended magazine/newspaper article complete with eye-catching photographs, captions, and excerpts from songs used to build support for the movement.

Great coverage of important historical events. Recommended for grades 6-8.
Ashley Ramirez
Apr 05, 2015 Ashley Ramirez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
This book was really helpful for me to get facts for my exit project.
Jul 22, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: CapCh 10-14
I'm glad to be more informed about the background and history of the Memphis sanitation workers' strike. Bausum does a terrific job detailing the events in Memphis and MLK, Jr's role in them. The concise profiles of "King's Campaigns" in the back matter is invaluable to students of the civil rights movement.
Erin Sterling
An amazing nonfiction book about the garbage worker strike in Birmingham, Alabama and the events leading up to Martin Luther King Jr.'s death. Did a great job at presenting a narrative of the events with factual details and historical photos. Excellent Civil Rights nonfiction book.
Bonnie Barnes
We will be reading this as we get ready for our second school visit from Ann Bausum. She's an articulate speaker who relates well to kids and who does a fabulous job of talking about the process of writing nonfiction. We have all of her books and this one is looking great!
Jul 21, 2012 Kifflie rated it really liked it
Shelves: youth-nonfiction
This is high quality nonfiction for middle school and YA readers (and even interested adults like me) who want to know more about Dr. Martin Luther King's final weeks and the Memphis sanitation strike. Excellent use of photographs and quotes throughout.
Jun 24, 2012 Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My every-now-and-then nonfiction fix. pretty good. I liked how it was just focusing on the causes and effects of his death, and didn't bore us with the every detail of the Memphis Labor Strike, only the relevant details. Great pictures and quotes.
Katherine Schmitt
Jun 18, 2013 Katherine Schmitt rated it really liked it
Interesting book about an important topic. There needs to be more of a dialogue, both with children and adults, about poverty and equality.
Edward Sullivan
A vivid, engrossing, and superbly researched chronicle of the events leading up to the final days of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Brenda Kahn
Feb 21, 2012 Brenda Kahn rated it it was amazing
Riveting reading, beautiful book design, compelling photographs - must purchase for every school and public library.
Krista marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2016
Jenny rated it it was amazing
Jun 07, 2016
James McNally
James McNally marked it as to-read
May 01, 2016
Jacki Bolwerk
Jacki Bolwerk marked it as to-read
Apr 20, 2016
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Apr 23, 2016
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Apr 24, 2016
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Mar 26, 2016
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Ann Bausum writes about U.S. history for young people from her home in Beloit, Wisconsin. Her 2007 book Muckrakers earned the Golden Kite Award as best nonfiction book of the year from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Freedom Riders (2006) gained Sibert Honor designation from the American Library Association and With Courage and Cloth (2004) received the Jane Addams Childre ...more
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