[image-1] The S.C. Poor People’s Campaign will host an event this weekend in honor of the women of the 1969 Charleston hospital workers strike.
The program will start at 10 a.m. at Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston. It will be followed by lunch at noon and organizing workshops at 1 p.m. Attendees can register for free here.
Titled Passing the Torch: Carrying on the work of the 1969 Charleston strike and building a new poor people’s campaign, the gathering will not just celebrate the lives of those who participated in the 1969 demonstration, but it will also attempt to galvanize people for similar efforts in the Lowcountry.
In 1968, Moultrie organized black workers at the hospital that is now part of the Medical University of South Carolina in downtown Charleston. Moultrie had earned her Licensed Practical Nurse certification, but the hospital refused to promote her beyond the low-paying position of nurses’ aide.
[content-2] The hospital fired Moultrie and 11 other employees, according to an account on the City Paper. In 1969, 400 members of a newly-formed local union formed a picket line, drawing the attention of Coretta Scott King and leading to a 10,000-strong march on Mother’s Day.
“Until her passing in April 2015, strike leader Mary Moultrie was insistent that the best way to commemorate the strike was by paying workers a living wage and protecting their rights on the job,” according to a press release from the activist group.
Speakers on Saturday will include Poor People’s Campaign national co-chairs William J. Barber, II and Liz Theoharis.
The Poor People’s Campaign describes itself as an organization “committed to lifting up and deepening the leadership of those most affected by systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation and to building unity across lines of division,” according to their website. [location-1]