The public is invited to view a 53-minute documentary produced by the city of Rocky Mount’s Communications and Marketing Office focused on the Sanitation Workers Strike of 1978. The documentary viewing will take place Saturday, Sept. 7 at 2:30 p.m. in the Booker T. Washington Community Center.
The documentary will follow the NC Highway Historical Marker Unveiling Ceremony sponsored by the Phoenix Historical Society taking place at 1 p.m., also at the BTW Community Center.
The Sanitation Workers Strike of 1978 began when a city of Rocky Mount employee, Alexander “Preacher” Evans, picked up a suit of clothes left by a trash can at a residence in the Englewood neighborhood. Workers had been instructed by management that any items left within a five-foot vicinity of trash cans could be picked up by them. Evans was known for his ministry which included donating clothes, like the suit, and other items to the needy. After receiving complaints from the residents that a suit was stolen, Evans denied stealing the items and returned the clothing to his supervisor the following day. However, Evans was suspended from his job for two days and charged with misdemeanor larceny. What followed was the Sanitation Workers Strike of 1978.
On Oct. 8, 2018, the city of Rocky Mount issued an apology to Evans family, his supporters and to the sanitation workers employed during the 1978 strike, and a resolution was presented in their honor, recognizing the 40th anniversary of the strike. This year, we will have a historical marker unveiling.
We look forward to seeing you all on Sept. 7.
Chief Communications & Marketing Officer
City of Rocky Mount
Communications & Marketing Office
CONTACT Southern Labor Studies Association
c/o Max Krochmal
Department of History, LA 135
University of New Orleans
2000 Lakeshore Dr
New Orleans, LA 70148