Collection Highlights: Lester N. Trachtman Papers and the African American Labor Center Records

African Labor Union Records Now Available!

Two new labor collections are now available to the public: the Lester N. Trachtman Papers, and the African American Labor Center records.  Both of these collections are focused on African labor and trade unionism, and complement the existing public holdings of the AFL-CIO Archive’s International Department in the Special Collections and University Archives at University of Maryland.  

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May Day in the Meany Labor Archives!

Today is May Day! Also known as International Workers’ Day. May Day is considered an international labor holiday. This post highlights some of the materials in our collections related to May Day. Much of our May Day material can be found in the May Day, 1885-1986 folder in the vertical file collection, and the Haymarket folders in the Morris B. Schnapper collection!

May Day was created by a resolution initiated by American Socialists at the International Socialist Congress in Paris, France, in July of 1889. The purpose of May Day was to gain support for an eight-hour work day. The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada, precursor to the American Federation of Labor, and the Knights of Labor cooperated in preparing for a general strike in U.S. cities on May 1, 1886. And on that day, approximately 350,000 American workers went on strike, impacting over 11,000 businesses. Although workers in New York, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, and other cities participated, Chicago was widely considered the center of May Day agitation, largely due to Chicago being one of the few cities with broad union and radical solidarity in support of the eight-hour day.

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Collection Highlight: The Labor Heritage Foundation


John Handcox performing with Mike Honey. 0115-LBR, Box 14, Folder 26.

The Labor Heritage Foundation (LHF), an Allied Group of the AFL-CIO, was founded in 1983 by Joe Glazer, Joe Uehlein, and Saul Schniderman. The non-profit strives to promote labor activism through a combination of music, arts, and culture. Donated to the University of Maryland in 2016, the LHF records document decades of labor activities and events including: correspondence with leaders in the labor movement like Pete Seeger and Archie Green, administrative documents, songbooks, photographs, and audiovisual materials.

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Digital projects using archives

#BlackLivesMatter   #SayHerName   #BringBackOurGirls   #ICANTBREATHE

Internet activism has changed the national conversation and must be taken seriously. Social media is reshaping how scholars study social movements. Is there an opportunity for archival collections to support these conversations on race and digital social justice activism? Can archival primary source materials that weren’t born digital be more effectively used alongside born-digital records in data analysis and scholarship? This semester members from the AADHum Project Team, along with our Teaching and Learning Librarian and Labor History Archivist, explored these questions to gain a broader sense of how primary resources support projects in the digital humanities.

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The Labor Movement and Posters: Promoting Human Rights, Part 2

This is the last post in a series of blogs by the Labor Collections Team highlighting the amazing posters on display in the Hornbake Library Gallery exhibit, “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America.” These posters encompass a wide range of human rights issues supported by the labor movement. There are nine different human rights issues that are covered in the exhibit. In Part 1 of this series, we showcased the posters in the African-American Rights, Women’s Rights, the Eight-Hour Day, and A Living Wage sections of the exhibit. This post will explore the posters in the Religious Freedom, International Workers, the Environment, and LGBTQ Rights sections, and several other posters included in the exhibit from the AFL-CIO collections.

Religious Freedom:

FabricofOurLives

This poster of a mosaic mural at the Bernard Horwich Community Center in Chicago, IL was produced by the Jewish Labor Committee. The Committee was founded in the 1930s to unite the labor movement and the American Jewish community in opposition to the rise of fascism. AFL-CIO Posters, Broadsides, and Art Collection.

 

 

 

 

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The Labor Movement and Posters: Promoting Human Rights, Part 1

In this series of blogs the Labor Collections Team would like to highlight the amazing posters on display in the Hornbake Library Gallery exhibit “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America.” These posters encompass a wide range of human rights issues supported by the labor movement. There are nine different human right issues that are covered in the exhibit.  For this post we will be showcasing the posters within the African-American Rights, Women’s Rights, the Eight-Hour Day, and A Living Wage sections of the exhibit.

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Mourn for the Dead, Fight for the Living: May Day Becomes International Workers’ Day

Happy International Workers’ Day! To celebrate, the Labor History Collections has put together a small exhibit in the Maryland Reading Room inside Hornbake Library to tell the story of how May Day became International Workers’ Day and its link to Labor Day.

IMG_3034

AFL-CIO poster promoting International Workers’ Day also known as May Day 2017. You can also check out this poster in Spanish on the “What’s Next?” panel in the Labor History Collection exhibit!

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April 4, 1968 – Reports and Reactions to the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot outside a Memphis hotel on April 4, 1968. As with the assassination of President Kennedy five years earlier, journalists and reporters assembled the facts as quickly as they could, scrambling to break updates to a horrified public. The reporters working for the Westinghouse News Bureau (also known as “Group W”) in Washington, D.C. were among them. Continue reading

“When I Say No, I Mean No”: The Labor Movement’s Fight to Stop Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

It is the beginning of Sexual Awareness Month, which is a time to talk about this important issue, understand the problem and promote change. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that includes unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and hostile, verbal, or physical conduct based on gender. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, which is a statistic only based on reported incidents from victims.[1] This serious issue has been in the forefront of the news lately with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gaining traction. However, charges of sexual harassment have not always been taken seriously.

In the Labor History Collections exhibit, “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America,” there are several historical examples of the labor movement fighting for victims of sexual harassment, giving them a voice.

sexual harassment handbook

“When I say No, I mean No: How to stop sexual harassment, a handbook for unions” published by The International Union of Food and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF), 1988. This handbook was written to help unions understand their role in helping victims of sexual harassment. Come check it out at the “Union Feminism: Sisterhood is Powerful” display!

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