Henry Loeb III
was the mayor of Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....
for two separate terms in the 1960s, from 1960 through 1963, and 1968 through 1971. He gained national notoriety in his second term for his role in opposing the demands of striking sanitation workers in February 1968. During what came to be known as the Memphis Sanitation Strike
The Memphis Sanitation Strike began on February 11, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. Citing years of poor treatment, discrimination, dangerous working conditions, and the recent work-related deaths of Echol Cole and Robert Walker, some 1300 black sanitation workers walked off the job in protest...
, around 1300 African-American members of Local 1733 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is the second- or third-largest labor union in the United States and one of the fastest-growing, representing over 1.4 million employees, primarily in local and state government and in the health care industry. AFSCME is part of the...
engaged in a 64-day strike for improved wages, working conditions, and union recognition.
This conflict, and racial violence that spread throughout the city in its wake, compelled Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...
to visit Memphis in late March of that year, in order to assist AFSCME in their negotiations with Loeb and other city officials and work alongside other Civil Rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...
leaders in raising consciousness about the low pay and mistreatment suffered by the workers. However, on April 4, King was assassinated, an event that helped force a temporary resolution of the strike on the part of the city. Further strikes had to be threatened later in 1968 to force Loeb and the City Council to honor its agreements.
Loeb was a strong conservative in politics; he received a large part of his criticism, as well as local caucasian support, for the local police's harsh and often violent treatment of strikers and sympathizers, which included local ministers, schoolchildren, and families of the workers. It was only after the King assassination, and subsequent Federal pressure placed on the city by President Lyndon Johnson and the United States Department of Labor
The United States Department of Labor is a Cabinet department of the United States government responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics. Many U.S. states also have such departments. The...
, that he relented in his strong obstinance against the city's recognizing AFSCME. His family remains prominent in Memphis' economic life through Loeb Properties
, a development firm; however, Loeb himself eventually left Memphis and moved to Forrest City, Arkansas
Forrest City is a city in and the county seat of St. Francis County, Arkansas, United States. It was named for General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who used the location as a campsite for a construction crew completing a railroad between Memphis and Little Rock, shortly after the Civil War. The...
, some 60 miles westward, where he became mayor there for some time, many years later.
Cracked.com is a humor website that was spun off the last attempt to revive Cracked magazine. It began in its current form in 2007.-Attempted relaunch of Cracked:...
selected Loeb at the top of their list of the "most horrific bosses of all time."
- Memphis Commercial Appeal photo of Loeb on the day after the MLK assassination
- Transcript of "Democracy Now!" interview with strike participants
- http://hnn.us/articles/37087.html"King's Last Crusade"--History News Network, George Mason University
George Mason University is a public university based in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, south of and adjacent to the city of Fairfax. Additional campuses are located nearby in Arlington County, Prince William County, and Loudoun County...
- http://tapdev.browsermedia.com/cs/articles?article=why_he_was_in_memphis"Why He Was in Memphis"--The American Prospect
The American Prospect is a monthly American political magazine dedicated to American liberalism. Based in Washington, DC, The American Prospect is a journal "of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics" which focuses on United States politics...
- Excerpt from Gerald Posner's Killing the Dream : James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- "King's Last Message"--Jewish Daily Forward
- ASFCME chronology of 1968 strike
- Review of 1993 documentary film At The River I Stand
- Henry Loeb's obituary at the New York Times