Just one month after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis after supporting a sanitation worker’s strike, sanitation crew chief Joe Savage and attorney James Sanderlin led over 200 black sanitation workers on a four-month strike in St. Petersburg. Savage, shown here being arrested, participated in over 40 non-violent marches and sit-ins during the summer of 1968. Savage fought City Hall for what he thought was unfair wages for a newly implemented work week. His protests help energize the Civil Right movement in St. Petersburg. Civil Rights historian and USF St. Pete history professor Ray Arsenault, called Savage an “unsung hero” of the Civil Rights efforts in St. Petersburg. Savage died at age 75 in 2001.
The St. Petersburg Museum of History is located at 335 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. For more information about exhibits, hours, and ticket pricing visit SPMOH.com.