Johnson, Johnnie, 1940-2000


In the spring of 1972, the Rev. Johnnie Johnson Jr. led about 260 black sanitation workers and black employees of the water, gas, and light departments on a general strike. Throughout the 1960s, blacks who worked for the city still had faced separate and unequal working conditions: salaries lower than those of white employees doing the same work, separate restrooms and water fountains in employee facilities, even separate coffee pots based on race. As well as organizing a union, the strikers demanded better pay, fair hiring practices, and an end to workplace segregation.

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