Stories can be fragile. People can jumble them, overtake them and twist them. Told again and again, the details can be exaggerated, emphasized or erased.

But the people of Memphis argue that the story of the Memphis bridge protest on July 10, 2016, is an important one. It must not be twisted.

In Dr. Martin Luther King’s final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, he wrote, “A final victory is an accumulation of many short-term encounters. To lightly dismiss a success because it does not usher in a complete order of justice is to fail to comprehend the process of full victory. It underestimates the value of confrontation and dissolves the confidence born of partial victory by which new efforts are powered.”

And so in order to tell that story of that hot night, that “short-term encounter,” MLK50 has collected the stories of people who were there. Above, you can hear them tell their story in their own words.

Thank you to the following people for participating: Memphis pastor and activist Earle Fisher; Paul Garner of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center; Nour Hantouli, community activist; Shahidah Jones of the Official Black Lives Matter chapter; mother and protester Porschia Scruggs; Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings; protester Chanel Trice; and organizer Jayanni Webster.


Where Do We Go From Here?

Read more from MLK50 on the bridge protest

Friday: “Take It To The Bridge,” The changes the bridge protest brought and the ones it didn’t, by MLK50 founder Wendi C. Thomas

Also Friday: When A City Fails To Hear, a photo essay by photographer Andrea Morales

Saturday: Policing the protesters, a look at police-community relations by MLK50 contributor Micaela Watts

Also Saturday: Sunday rally planned for anniversary of bridge protest by MLK50 founder Wendi C. Thomas

Coming Sunday: In Their Voices, a multimedia presentation by MLK50 contributor Molly Mulroy

Coming Monday: MLK50’s coverage of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens’ anniversary event


This report is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit reporting project on economic justice in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today.