Marching For Months



During the summer of 1968, from early May to late August, Joe Savage, a city sanitation worker, led a 116-day strike of St. Petersburg’s 211 African American sanitation workers protesting changes to their work week and compensation. 40 marches over the course of four months brought the energy of the civil rights movement to the streets of Tampa Bay. These non-violent protests, begun months after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., led to mass arrests and heightened tensions throughout the city.

As a part of her series profiling important African American figures in St. Petersburg, the Weekly Challenger’s Gwen Reese, discusses how Savage received death threats, his car was burned in front of his home, and his telephone was tapped. She describes Savage as a man who “despite his fears during the strike, never gave up. He was a man concerned about his community; a man willing to take a stand for himself and others.”