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

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“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.

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“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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Remembering the Strong Women of the Labor Movement

Women’s history month is a time to remember the important women that have fought for solutions to a number of social and political problems that women have faced. Today, we will be recognizing several women who may not be well-known, but have dedicated their lives to help women gain their rights.

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A poster commemorating Lucy Parsons in the Images of Labor campaign. AFL-CIO Posters, Broadsides, and Art collection.

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Curator’s Choice: Favorite Item in the Labor History Exhibit

For the past year I have helped co-curate the Labor History Collections exhibit, “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America.” It has been an exciting and rewarding experience that has taught me so much about the vast history of the labor movement. One of the displays that I designed and installed was “Breaking the Gender Barrier: A Woman’s Place is in Her Union,” which focuses on how women fought to become a central part of organized labor and to make the movement a leading force for gender equality on and off the job. One of the items within this display is a button from the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) that states “A Woman’s Place is in Her Union.”

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Check out the Labor History exhibit in the Hornbake Library to get a replica of this button!

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International Women’s Day: Strike for Change

Happy International Women’s Day! In celebration of this holiday we will be exploring the holiday’s evolving history and how its creation intertwines with the labor movement. The purpose of International Women’s Day is to bring attention to the social, political, and economic issues that women face. It is also used as a day to recognize women who have made achievements toward creating solutions for these many issues. The spirit of this holiday, which has been carried on since the early 1900s, has been to use demonstrations as a way to showcase the value of women to society. This holiday was started by women striking for basic workers’ rights.

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Newspaper article from the UIU Journal, 1978. Artificial Collections, Vertical Files, 1881-1999.

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Fembot Edit-A-thon

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Fembot, the University of Maryland Department of Women’s Studies, the University of Maryland Libraries, the LGBT Equity Center, and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, are hosting a two-day Wikipedia Edit-a-thon  to write women of color, trans, and/or non-conforming people and related organizations and ideas into Wikipedia.

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Please join Fembot and our partners for the 2018 Fembot Edit-a-thon! The Edit-A-thon will take place Friday and Saturday, March 9-10, from 10:30-4:00pm in McKeldin Library Rooms 6107 and 6103.  This Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon will contribute to the world of free and accessible knowledge, while at the same time working toward an anti-racist, gender inclusive history of everything within Wikipedia’s vast database.

More details about the event:

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The Montgomery Bus Boycott & Labor: Not the Strategy You’d Expect

In the course of research for our labor exhibit, “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America” I came across several files on the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  I was excited about this “find” because of the high profile and historical nature of the boycott, and I wanted to see why it was in the AFL-CIO Archive, which documents the labor movement activities of the AFL-CIO.  A letter from Matthew Woll, AFL-CIO’s General Counsel, to George Meany (AFL-CIO President) explains the reasoning behind the AFL-CIO’s non-action on the boycott, which had direct ties to the transportation trades, specifically the leaders and members of the AFL-CIO affiliated Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in Alabama. Continue reading