MEMPHIS, Tenn. — “I went looking for a book about the 1968 sanitation strike that I could share with young readers, but there wasn’t one in the library. There wasn’t one on Amazon,” says the teacher and author Alice Faye Duncan.
Seeing a need and taking action led this Memphis teacher and librarian on a path to reveal a new view of the 1968 Sanitation Strike in Memphis.
“So I decided I would write the book myself,” she says.
Sitting outside the very spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Junior died, author Alice Faye Duncan told WREG about her new book Memphis, Martin and the Mountain Top. The book is told from the view of 9-year-old Lorraine (Lorri) Jackson, one of the sanitation workers' children.
"Lorri Jackson, who is a main character, marches with her mother during the strike. She marches with her father during the strike. She attends strike rallies with her mother and father. She boycotts downtown Memphis stores during the strike," says Duncan.
"Through her efforts children see themselves and they say you know what, through my efforts, my courage and my determination, I can change the world for good," she says.
Duncan, who has published several other children and adult books, says this one took 10 years and plenty of re-writes to finish.
The first draft was rejected in 2005, but she never gave up.
She hopes that resonates with kids who read it.
"I hope that it inspires hope in their hearts, but I also hope the book inspires activism. That it inspires them looking around the world and seeing what must be done for good and then them rising up to do that thing," says Duncan. "Though they are small, they can make big changes in the world."
Reading an excerpt from the book, Duncan hopes putting a new voice to a historical time can ignite a new generation.
"Dream big. Walk tall. Be strong. March on. Don't quit. Never stop. Climb up the mountaintop," reads Duncan.
Memphis, Martin and the Mountain Top will be available for pre-order April 4, 2018.
The official release date is September 1, 2018.
You can find out more at Duncan's website www.alicefayeduncan.com