When the St. Louis Arch was being built in 1964, no Black workers had been hired for the construction crew.
That didn’t sit well with Black activist Percy Green, who wanted to let the world know that a federally funded national monument was guilty of racial discrimination. To protest, he climbed the halfway-constructed arch.
Green’s employer, the aerospace company McDonnell Douglas, was not happy about his ascent and laid off Green – the only Black research technician – due to budget cuts. Later the company listed a job opening for Green's former position. So Green, equipped with the recently passed Civil Rights Act, took the corporation to court for his job.