· BY CLYDE WEISS, AFSCME NOW
Clayborn Temple, a Memphis, Tennessee, church that played an important role in the civil rights struggle, is receiving long-overdue national recognition.
On March 28, 1968, while supporting 1,300 striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a march from Clayborn Temple, the meeting place for the strikers, represented by AFSCME Local 1733.
Clayborn Temple was then abandoned and fell in disrepair but was reopened this year. A symbol not just for the civil rights movement but also for AFSCME’s role in the tumultuous events of those days, Clayborn Temple has now achieved a victory of its own: The National Park Service recently approved an application to designate the temple a national landmark in the National Register of Historic Places.
It had previously been placed on the register for its architectural significance, but now the temple has been recognized for its place as an icon of civil rights and labor history.