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Marker honors Sanitation Worker Strike of 1978
Marker unveiling and documentary honor Sanitation Worker Strike of 1978. (Contributed photo)

The 1978 Sanitation Workers Strike was memorialized on Saturday, Sept. 7 at the BTW Community Center in the City of Rocky Mount with a historical highway marker commemorating the time from July 10 to Sept. 25, 1978 when Rocky Mount city sanitation workers led a successful community struggle against racial injustice in defense of co-worker Alexander "Preacher" Evans.

Sponsored by The Phoenix Historical Society and the African American History of Edgecombe County, the ceremony highlighted the efforts of workers who walked out on the job in support of Evans who was charged with theft, arrested and suspended from work for removing a suit of clothes left near trash. The marker is located at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Spruce Street, once the location of the sanitation department. The strike reshaped the labor movement in the state of North Carolina.

Following the unveiling, the city's Communications and Marketing Office premiered an hour-long documentary focused on the strike.


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