President Obama recognized a handful of participants who were involved in a landmark event in American civil rights and labor rights history during a recent White House event.

The 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike, an iconic campaign in which public workers united for dignity, respect and better lives, was spotlighted by Obama on April 29 as he invited eight living participants to the White House to honor their courage and their fight during the turbulent era.

“As workers across the country continue to face challenges to their rights, the issues for which these men fought continue to be relevant and the President remains committed to the causes for which they marched,” the White House said in a statement.

The 1968 strike of sanitation workers in Memphis marked a key moment in the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees embraced the protest against harsh, often lethal, working conditions and racial discrimination.

While preparing for a demonstration, King was assassinated April 4, 1968.

Following Obama’s meeting with the men, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis hosted a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Labor to mark the induction of the 1,300 workers into the Labor Hall of Fame. The induction process will close later this year in Memphis, marking the first time a Labor Hall induction will be held outside of Washington.