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Clayola Brown

Union and civil rights leader Clayola Brown was born Clayola Beatrice Oliver on August 4, 1948, in Charleston, South Carolina. Of Gullah ancestry, Brown attended school in Key West, Florida and Oxnard, California before graduating from Philadelphia’s Simon Gratz High School in 1966, where she was an athlete and majorette. At age fifteen, Brown joined her mother, Ann Belle Jenkins Shands, in a successful campaign to bring the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA) to the Manhattan Shirt Factory in Charleston. Brown later attended Florida A&M University, graduating in 1970 with her B.S. degree in secondary education and physical education.

In 1970, Brown was hired by TWUA in their claims department in Opalaca, Alabama. Subsequently, Brown went on to play an organizing role in the seventeen-year struggle to unionize the textile giant, J.P. Stevens, culminating in 1980 with four thousand workers winning a contract through the newly formed Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU). Brown served as the ACTWU’s education director, civil rights director, and also, for thirteen years, as manager of the ACTWU’s Laundry Division. In 1991, Brown was elected international vice president of the ACTWU; a post which she was continually reelected to for over a decade. In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Brown to the National Commission on Employment Policy. In 1995, Brown helped merge the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) with ACTWU to form the Union of Needle Trades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE, now UNITEHERE!). That same year, Brown was elected international vice president of the AFL-CIO. In 2004, Brown became the first woman to serve as national president of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute.

Brown served on the board of Amalgamated Bank, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and SCLC. At the NAACP, Brown served on the Labor Ad Hoc, and NAACP Image Awards Committees. Brown also served on the Executive Committee of the Workers Defense League and as the first vice president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU). Brown was honored with the NAACP Leadership and Keeper of the Flame Awards, the CBTU Woman of Valor Award, the SCLC Drum Major for Justice Award and many others.

Brown and her husband, Alfred Brown, have a son, Alfred, Jr.

Accession Number

A2005.161

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/13/2005

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Schools

Simon Gratz High School

Hueneme High School

East Bay Elementary

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

First Name

Clayola

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

BRO28

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Let The Work I Do Speak For Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/4/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard)

Short Description

Civil rights leader, labor leader, and union leader Clayola Brown (1948 - ) was vice president of the AFL-CIO, and the first female national president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Employment

Textile Workers Union of America

A. Philip Randolph Institute

Manhattan Shirt Factory

Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clayola Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown talks about her mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown describes her maternal family's move between Vance and Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown describes her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown talks about the Gullah and Geechee languages

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown talks about her mother's upbringing in South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown talks about her father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes how her mother and biological father met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Clayola Brown talks about her stepfather's family

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Clayola Brown describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Clayola Brown shares early childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Clayola Brown describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clayola Brown describes her early musical interests

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown remembers attending Vance Baptist Church with her family in Vance, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown describes how she takes after her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown recalls her school experiences in Charleston, South Carolina and Key West, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown remembers her fourth grade teacher at East Bay Elementary in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown describes moving between Florida, California, Pennsylvania and South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown remembers Daisy Richardson, her mentor at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown remembers union organizing at Manhattan Shirt Factory in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clayola Brown describes her female role models

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown describes her independent and questioning mind

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown recalls music and literature that inspired her

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown remembers conversations with white teenagers at the Gloria Theater in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown describes Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown recalls her introduction to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown describes her experiences at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown describes her experiences at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes National Pan-Hellenic Council groups at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clayola Brown remembers her activism at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Clayola Brown describes being hired by the Textile Workers Union of America in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Clayola Brown remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clayola Brown describes her employment with the Textile Workers Union of America

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown describes balancing her early career and her marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown describes organizing workers at J.P. Stevens & Company in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown describes the decline of U.S. unions and job opportunities

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown describes J.P. Stevens & Company's organizing campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown remembers her tenure at Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown describes the qualities for effective labor organizing

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown describes the role of religion and party politics in unionization

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes her experience as an African American woman organizer

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Clayola Brown describes her mentors and board service

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Clayola Brown shares her perspective on the NAACP Image Award

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clayola Brown shares her concerns for the labor movement, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clayola Brown shares her concerns for the labor movement, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clayola Brown describes the trade union movement and Walmartization

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clayola Brown shares her perspective on the effects of Walmartization

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clayola Brown her leadership vision for the A. Philip Randolph Institute in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clayola Brown describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clayola Brown reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clayola Brown talks about her mother's support

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Clayola Brown describes how she would like to be remembered

The Honorable Charles Hayes

Labor leader and U.S. congressman Charles A. Hayes was born on February 17, 1918 in Cairo, Illinois, and graduated from Cairo's Sumner High School in 1935.

While working as a machine operator in his hometown Hayes helped to organize the United Packinghouse Workers of America, which later became prominent in union reform movements for women and minorities. Hayes remained involved with the labor union movement for fifty years and eventually became vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

In 1983, Hayes was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives, a seat previously occupied by Chicago, Illinois Mayor Harold Washington. Hayes played a large role in Washington's mayoral campaign by lobbying, organizing people and raising money through his union. During his career in Congress, Hayes made a number of changes. He authored and introduced the School Improvement Act of 1987, which was later passed by the House. This act allocated millions of dollars to public schools across the country, allowing them to purchase textbooks, computers and supplies. He also introduced the Economic Bill of Rights, which outlined a plan for the equal distribution of national wealth. In addition, Hayes was an active member of Congress’s Education and Labor Committee, as well as the Small Business Committee. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives until January 3, 1993.

Hayes also was an ardent supporter of the civil rights movement. He was one of the founding members of Operation PUSH with Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. Also, Hayes worked with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

A resident of Chicago, Illinois for most of his life, Hayes died from complications of lung cancer on April 8, 1997 at the age of 79.

Charles Hayes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 25, 1993.

Accession Number

A1993.002

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/25/1993

Last Name

Hayes

Maker Category
Middle Name

A.

Schools

Cairo Sumner High School

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Cairo

HM ID

HAY02

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

Tanqueray

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/17/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

4/8/1997

Short Description

Labor leader and U.S. congressman The Honorable Charles Hayes (1918 - 1997 ) was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1983. Hayes was also a life-long union worker, founding the United Packinghouse Workers of America and becoming vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Employment

United States House of Representatives

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

None

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Charles Hayes names inspirational figures

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Hayes details his investment in unions

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Hayes expresses his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Hayes wants to be remembered for staying the course

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Hayes shares advice for future generations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Hayes lists several prominent Chicagoans who've influenced his career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Hayes shares political views

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$1

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Charles Hayes details his investment in unions
Charles Hayes lists several prominent Chicagoans who've influenced his career
Transcript
What events influenced you? What important events in our history have influenced you the most? Or would you like pinpoint as very important to black people.$$Well, I think that has the most influence on my life was being a part of a very poor family. I had always--it just became a part of me to always have a desire to help people who needed help. Employment--find a decent job, make a decent living. And certainly, in order to do that--I became really interested in unions. And I guess the thing that turned me in the direction of unions most was a job I had--because I had no desire to continue to be a laborer in a hardware flooring plant. I just wanted to make a little money and get enough stashed away to maybe go to an institution of higher learning after just graduating from high school. But the thing that I found out, you can't do it alone if you work in a factory. You have to be together. And that's where unionism became a part of me, down in Cairo, Illinois when I left there and came to Chicago and at the help of my uncle got a job in the stockyards. And the same thing existed dealing with an employer on a one on basis is not the kind of thing where you'd get very far. So, collectivism meant a lot so I started toward unions. And organized in order to improve ourselves financially and yes, be treated like human beings. Some places they didn't treat you like human beings. If you were African American, you were certainly on the low end of the totem pole, you had the worst jobs. The most laborious and dirtiest jobs in the stockyards. It changed when we got organized. So that influenced my life. And I decided that I should stay and stick with unions, work with unions. And I became to be an elected official of a union on both local and international level and then I got into politics as a correlation between politics and a way of life for people. And when I came to Chicago, I worked for [US Congressman William] Dawson and a lot of others--most of the Democratic party, but there was just one of these "me too" Democrats, I never was so hung up with the party label as I was with what they stood for and the kind of program that they were pushing and that's what I supported. So I was characterized more as an independent kind of Democrat. Rather than a, I guess, based on law, they based on label. So that influenced my life when I got tied up in unions, tied up in politics. Yes, when I went into the Congress in 1983 as the successor to one of the greatest people I ever knew--mayor of the city of Chicago, first black person elected the mayor of this great city--Harold Washington. I supported him, fought within the ranks of labor, they didn't want to support, a lot of--didn't want to support a black leader to head--be the chief executive of this city. But we fought. At least neutralized some them to the point where they didn't--wouldn't make an endorsement in the primary rather than endorse Harold they left it up to each individual union to go on their way and endorse whoever they wanted. And then for me to succeed him as a Congressperson is something I never dreamed of, it certainly wasn't my aspiration. I went to my own union in Washington and asked--they asked me after he was elected, who are we going to get to succeed him? I said, "I don't know, we gotta think about it and talk about it." Already a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, one of its leaders. And so I said--they said, "Well, why don't you run?" I said, "Who me?" "Yeah. We' ll help you raise the necessary funds." And it took almost $400,000 for me to be elected, all of it didn't come from labor. But they certainly had the PAC [political action committee] funds. They supported me without it, with thirteen different opponents, it was difficult to win. There's no question about it. So this had great--and when I went into Congress, my interest and concern was to be a voice for the voiceless and it's still that way. Poor people on our society, their needs are neglected. Their desires--the homeless we have, people who have no insurance and all these kinds of things I think it's something government needs to do something about. We still have hungry people. I'm very much opposed to the continuation of spending our money in the interest of people overseas--and the neglected people right here at home. This is my background--this is the way I've been all along.$Thurgood Marshall is a person I knew--first met when he was an attorney for the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]. I was active in the NAACP--used to be the one of the leaders of the Chicago chapter of the NAACP. Travelled all over the country to conventions and everywhere supporting and fighting for the rights of people. I remember, he used to have great influence on me. Of course, Ralph Bunche, I didn't know quite as well. I was very happy when he was given the role to try to get justice for Palestinians, 'cause as a leader of labor at that time, there was only a few of us who took the position, even in the old CIO [Congress of Industrial Organizations] and AFL-CIO [American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations] at conventions that we think that the Palestinians entitled to a homeland, I still feel that way. They shouldn't be treated as they're outcasts. And so far as Jesse Jackson is concerned--I had gotten to know Jesse when he was on the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC] working with Dr. Martin Luther King [Jr.]. And I can remember having marched in the South, marched in Chicago for equality is housing and jobs and education with Jesse. And I think that he certainly has been one who--while younger than me, I have a lot of admirations or admiration for him. Now what the fourth one that you mentioned was--I'm trying to think. Well there are several others than I know I have--Harold Washington, God knows, he had a great part in my life, not just politically, but who knows how to work as a coalition kind of person. We only represent roughly 41 percent--which is a big number--of the population in the city of Chicago, but we don't control how the dollars are spent. And this is--this is what the fight is all about. You can't wrap yourself up just in blackness, the favored color of the people in power is green. And you have to get in the position where you can have something to say how this is distributed and this is where out shortcomings are here and [Chicago mayor] Harold Washington did a lot. And yes, people like Margaret Burroughs who have fought and struggled and built the DuSable Museum, certainly has done a lot to improve and record the history that a lot of our people have played. Ralph Metcalf when he stood up in defiance of the police brutality in this city, will long be remembered in our work--and stood with him. And we've--Addie Wyatt, a person I've known and certainly a religious leader now, but was a labor leader, she certainly has played a great part--a role in my life, and I'll always remember. Along with her husband, Reverend Claude Wyatt, we grew up together, our in Altgeld Gardens. I lived out there in public housing. First decent apartment I ever had in this city, was public housing. And I'll always want to see that these people who live there are not pushed out just because big developers want to make big dollars.

Reverend Addie Wyatt

Addie L. Wyatt was born on March 8, 1924, in Brookhaven, Mississippi. The oldest girl of eight children, Wyatt (then Cameron) looked to her mother, Maggie Cameron, as an example. When Wyatt was only three, she gave her first recitation in church. This began a career in public speaking which reaches through religion to human rights, which represents a lifetime of work in which her actions speak even louder than her powerful words.

Wyatt is one of the nation's foremost labor leaders. She was the first female local union president of the United Packinghouse Food and Allied Workers. She began working for the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America in 1941 and became the organization's first female international vice president. She and her husband, Dr. Claude Wyatt, Jr., founded the Wyatt Choral Ensemble in 1944. Wyatt was ordained in 1955 and the next year the Wyatts began working closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They helped found Operation Breadbasket and serve on the board of Operation PUSH, People United to Serve Humanity.

Wyatt believes in a holistic Gospel and that all things are connected, and this can be seen in her work. Wyatt served as the director of the women's affairs and human rights departments in the Amalgamated Meat Cutters union. Eleanor Roosevelt appointed her to serve on the Labor Legislation Committee of the Commission on the Status of Women, which presented its report in 1963. In 1974, she helped found the Coalition of Labor Union Women and delivered the keynote address at the founding meeting to 3,200 participants. Wyatt was a founding member of the National Organization for Women and a leader in the struggle for an Equal Rights Amendment.

Today, Wyatt serves as co-pastor of Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago, Illinois. The church, which Wyatt and her husband helped found, has approximately 1,000 members and is widely know for its work with homeless people, seniors and youth. She works for peace and has supported worthy political candidates. She was named one of Time Magazine's Women of the Year in 1975 and received a similar honor from The Ladies Home Journal in 1977. Ebony named her one of the 100 most influential black Americans from 1980 to 1984.

Rev. Addie Wyatt passed away on March 28, 2012.

Accession Number

A2002.096

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/1/2002

Last Name

Wyatt

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Addie

Birth City, State, Country

Brookhaven

HM ID

WYA01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

I'm Hopping But Not Stopping.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/8/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Macaroni, Cheese

Death Date

3/28/2012

Short Description

Labor leader and pastor Reverend Addie Wyatt (1924 - 2012 ) was the first female local union president of the United Packinghouse Food and Allied Workers. Wyatt also served as co-pastor of Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago, Illinois.

Employment

United Packinghouse, Food and Allied Workers

Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America

Wyatt Choral Ensemble

Rainbow/PUSH

Presidential Commission on the Status of Women

Coalition of Labor Union Women

Favorite Color

Pink

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Addie Wyatt interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Addie Wyatt's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Addie Wyatt describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Addie Wyatt discusses her father's life

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Addie Wyatt shares her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Addie Wyatt recounts her family's history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Addie Wyatt describes the sights, sounds and smells of Brookhaven, Mississippi, her childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Addie Wyatt revisits her childhood home, Brookhaven, Mississippi--Part I

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Addie Wyatt revisits her childhood home, Brookhaven, Mississippi--Part II

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Addie Wyatt shares memories from her family life

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Addie Wyatt discusses her awareness of racism as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Addie Wyatt reveals her childhood reputation of being an "old child"

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Addie Wyatt discusses her family's migration to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Addie Wyatt discusses her school life in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Addie Wyatt remembers her family's financial struggles--Part I

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Addie Wyatt remembers her family's financial struggles--Part II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - As a child, Addie Wyatt contributes to her family's finances

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Addie Wyatt talks about her first job and her involvement in labor union politics

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Addie Wyatt reflects on her career ascent within the labor union

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Addie Wyatt describes how her labor union empowered women and minority workers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Addie Wyatt details the negotiating skills she acquired working for the labor union

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Addie Wyatt gets support from her family as she becomes a labor union leader

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Addie Wyatt discusses her challenging management's treatment of female employees

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Addie Wyatt describes her first victory as a labor union leader

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Addie Wyatt becomes influential in labor politics at the national level

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Addie Wyatt copes with hostility in the labor union movement

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Addie Wyatt describes managing work and home life after the death of her mother

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Addie Wyatt describes her long-standing work relationship with Rev. Willie T. Barrow

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Addie Wyatt describes the support she received from women union members

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Addie Wyatt discusses her career ascent while working for the labor union

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Addie Wyatt discusses the formation of her ministry, Vernon Park Church of God

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Addie Wyatt contributes to civil rights efforts in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Addie Wyatt describes a powerful encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Addie Wyatt describes violence at a Chicago civil rights march

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Addie Wyatt fights for women's equality in the workplace and pay equity

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Addie Wyatt discusses common objections to women's roles in the workplace and "equal pay for equal work"

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Addie Wyatt discusses the commonalities among the various freedom movements of the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Addie Wyatt expresses pride in having achieved greater freedom for minorities

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Addie Wyatt calls for continued struggles for peace, justice, freedom and equality

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Addie Wyatt describes the need for communication between generations of African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Addie Wyatt describes the role of the church in cultivating better citizens

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Addie Wyatt describes that her faith in God gives strength in adverse times

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Addie Wyatt reflects on her parents and considers her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Addie Wyatt discusses the accomplishments of her ministry, the Vernon Park Church of God

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Photo - Addie Wyatt meets First Lady Rosalyn Carter at the White House, Washington, D.C., ca. 1977-1981

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Photo - Addie Wyatt's mother, Maggie Mae Cameron, ca. 1944

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Photo - Addie Wyatt attends a meeting on labor issues at the White House, Washington, D.C., ca. 1977-1981

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Photo - Addie Wyatt meets with other ministers following a church conference

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Photo - Addie Wyatt attends an event at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition headquarters with Dr. Thomas Skinner, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Photo - Addie Wyatt and husband Rev. Claude S. Wyatt, Jr. pose with an African guest at Vernon Park Church of God, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Photo - Addie Wyatt's husband Rev. Claude S. Wyatt Jr. (right) poses with a popular newsman, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Photo - Addie Wyatt shows a picture of former union leader and U.S. Congressman Charles A. Hayes from Illinois, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Photo - Addie Wyatt sits at her desk at the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of America's union office, May, 1975

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Photo - Addie Wyatt is one of 'Time' magazine's "Women of the Year," January 5, 1976

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Photo - Rev. Claude S. Wyatt Jr., Rev. Willie Barrow, Clyde Barrow and Addie Wyatt at a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition event, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Photo - Addie Wyatt visits a strike, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Photo - Roland Burris, Alvin Boutte, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, Cirillo McSween and Addie Wyatt at a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition event, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Photo - Ronald Robinson, Addie Wyatt, Mayor Eugene Sawyer and others celebrate Rev. Claude S. Wyatt, Jr.'s birthday at Vernon Park Church of God, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Photo - Addie Wyatt talks with former Pennsylvania Secretary of State, C. Delores Tucker, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 19 - Photo - U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Rev. Claude S. Wyatt, Jr., Rev. Willie Barrow and Alderman Rev. Leonard Deville, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 20 - Photo - Addie Wyatt hugs Geraldine Ferraro during her vice presidential campaign, 1984

Tape: 7 Story: 21 - Photo - John Hope Franklin, Addie Wyatt and an unidentified woman at a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition convention, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 7 Story: 22 - Photo - Addie Wyatt, Emma Beck and an unidentified woman at a women's conference of the union of Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America, held at the Pick-Congress Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, not…

Tape: 7 Story: 23 - Photo - Addie Wyatt with Juanita Passmore at a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition convention, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Photo - Addie Wyatt with Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer and Alderman Lorraine Dixon, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Photo - Addie Wyatt poses with an unidentified woman at a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition convention, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Photo - Addie Wyatt with Dr. Dorothy Height and others at a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition convention, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Photo - Addie Wyatt prepares for a union fundraiser, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Photo - Rev. Addie Wyatt with prominent clergy and political figures, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Photo - Addie Wyatt shakes hands with the former president of the United Food and Commercial Workers of America union, 1979

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Photo - Addie Wyatt with Dr. Dorothy Height and others at a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition convention, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Photo - President Jimmy Carter greets Addie Wyatt at the White House, Washington, D.C., 1970s

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Photo - Addie Wyatt and family at her brother's wedding, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1950s

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Photo - Addie Wyatt takes part in a march for the Equal Rights Amendment, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1970s

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Photo - Addie Wyatt exhibits an autographed 'Ebony' magazine cover commemorating the March on Montgomery, Alabama, May, 1965

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Photo - Rev. Addie Wyatt with her husband, Rev. Claude S. Wyatt, Jr., Chicago, Illinois, 1985-1986

Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Photo - Rev. Addie Wyatt poses with James Compton, Coretta Scott King, Lerone Bennett, Jr. and others, n.d

Tape: 8 Story: 14 - Photo - Addie Wyatt with others at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's celebration, in honor of the first Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Atlanta, Georgia, 1993

Tape: 8 Story: 15 - Photo - Addie Wyatt poses with Reverend Jesse Jackson, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 16 - Photo - Addie Wyatt superimposed on husband, Reverend Claude Wyatt's silhouette, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 17 - Photo - Rev. Addie Wyatt with Mayor Richard M. Daley at a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Chicago, Illinois, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 18 - Photo - Addie Wyatt poses with husband, Reverend Claude Wyatt, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 19 - Photo - Addie Wyatt receives an honorary degree from Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois, 1978

Tape: 8 Story: 20 - Photo - Addie Wyatt poses with the officers of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America union, Chicago, Illinois, August, 1976

Tape: 8 Story: 21 - Photo - Addie Wyatt poses with Jean Barnett, former vice president of Revlon, Inc., not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 22 - Photo - Addie Wyatt poses with her great-granddaughter, Joy Alexandria Hall, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 23 - Photo - Addie Wyatt with Rev. Claude Wyatt, her brother Willie Cameron, and Dr. Alvin Lewis, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 24 - Photo - Addie Wyatt's son, Claude S. Wyatt, III, not dated

Tape: 8 Story: 25 - Photo - Addie Wyatt's sister Audrey Dandridge, brothers Emmett and Willie Cameron, and son Renaldo Wyatt, not dated

Frank Lumpkin

Born the third of 10 children on October 13, 1916, Frank Lumpkin is known for winning a 17-year fight against a steel mill, but he also participated in numerous other struggles for social justice. His family, sharecroppers in Washington, Georgia, moved to Florida to pick oranges when Lumpkin was six years old. At age 13, he lost two fingers when others dared him to touch a power line. Two years later, Lumpkin left school to pick fruit full-time.

As a young man, Lumpkin boxed well enough to fight professionally. He also worked in the orange groves and as a chauffeur. Following a brother who found better pay as a steelworker, Lumpkin moved to Buffalo, New York and got a job at Bethlehem Steel in 1941. Joining the merchant marines in 1943, he took part in a strike organized by the integrated National Maritime Union and his belief in communism took hold.

In 1949, Frank Lumpkin moved to Chicago and married Beatrice. The Wisconsin Steel Mill hired Lumpkin in 1950, and he quickly led an unsuccessful movement to bring a national union to his workplace. Lumpkin continued at the plant until 1980, when it closed down in a corrupt scheme to cheat its workers out of their last paychecks, pensions and benefits. The in-house union refused to fight, and Lumpkin organized the Save Our Jobs Committee. Under his leadership, the group picketed offices in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Fighting hard and long, Save Our Jobs finally succeeded in winning multiple court settlements that totaled $19 million. Although this represented a small monetary victory for the 2,500 workers the committee represented, Lumpkin succeeded in showing that united, people are strong.

Lumpkin has fought throughout his life for such causes as racial justice, living wages and peace. Mayor Harold Washington appointed him to task forces on hunger and dislocated workers. Frank and Beatrice Lumpkin have traveled internationally, visiting Eastern Europe and Russia behind the Iron Curtain as well as Africa and Latin America. Lumpkin remained a member of the Communist Party and the Save Our Jobs Committee, until his death on March 1, 2010.

Accession Number

A2002.082

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/6/2002

Last Name

Lumpkin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Jones High School

First Name

Frank

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

LUM01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

N/A

Favorite Quote

Let's Get It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/23/1916

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Rice, Grits, Pork Chops, Ham

Death Date

3/1/2010

Short Description

Labor leader and steelworker Frank Lumpkin (1916 - 2010 ) is the organizer of the Save Our Jobs Committee. Under his leadership, the group protested for workers' rights in Illinois and Washington, D.C, and succeeded in winning multiple court settlements that totaled $19 million.

Employment

Bethlehem Steel

Wisconsin Steel Mill

Favorite Color

Dark Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:10568,188:24206,345:63866,791:87324,1063:96084,1296:115630,1473:144922,1700:159380,1864:176368,2183:195582,2409:196302,2429:204150,2572:222310,2792:256000,3195$0,0:2680,33:3244,41:3714,47:4090,52:49120,321:56998,417:89564,881:90294,893:97748,976:117576,1162:136499,1464:142070,1522:160424,1814:160970,1823:167866,1860:168210,1865:177560,1958:181690,2219:197718,2369:209010,2460
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frank Lumpkin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frank Lumpkin lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frank Lumpkin describes his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frank Lumpkin describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frank Lumpkin talks about his childhood education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frank Lumpkin describes his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frank Lumpkin lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frank Lumpkin talks about walking to school and his segregated childhood education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frank Lumpkin describes his relationship with his parents, his father's work as a sharecropper, and his parents' value for education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Frank Lumpkin shares memories about his schooling

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Frank Lumpkin talks about boxing after high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frank Lumpkin begins to talk about his boxing days

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frank Lumpkin remembers his boxing days

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frank Lumpkin describes sopping syrup with biscuits and the foods of his childhool

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frank Lumpkin talks about the years he spent boxing to make money

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frank Lumpkin recalls his life in Buffalo, New York as well as his boxing days

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frank Lumpkin remembers his time in the U.S. Merchant Marine

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frank Lumpkin describes losing several fingers as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frank Lumpkin remembers moving from Buffalo, New York to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Frank Lumpkin recalls working at Wisconsin Steel

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Larry Crowe and Beatrice Lumpkin address Frank Lumpkin's limited memory of events

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Frank Lumpkin talks about Wisconsin Steel mill and how he organized working in the mill

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frank Lumpkin talks about partnering with Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and labor leader Edward Sadlowski and Wisconsin Steel mill

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frank Lumpkin talks about the closing of Wisconsin Steel in 1980

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frank Lumpkin recalls the Trumbull Park Race Riots in 1953

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frank Lumpkin describes hiring a lawyer and organizing workers at the closing of Wisconsin Steel in 1980

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frank Lumpkin describes the aftermath of the closing of Wisconsin Steel with details from Beatrice Lumpkin

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frank Lumpkin talks about labor organizing and his biography, "Always Bring a Crowd!: The Story of Frank Lumpkin"

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frank Lumpkin describes his struggle against Wisconsin Steel to other union fights

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$1

DATitle
Frank Lumpkin recalls working at Wisconsin Steel
Frank Lumpkin talks about partnering with Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and labor leader Edward Sadlowski and Wisconsin Steel mill
Transcript
All right, and, so what and you, you--I know you started working for Wisconsin Steel, right, at a certain point?$$(No audible response, nodding yes).$$Now, is that when you start--did you start working at Wisconsin Steel as soon as you got here? How did you find out about it?$$Now, let's see, 'cause I worked there thirty-some years. You see actually, in the steel mill, they wasn't like the ones are now, you know, if you got around there you could get a chance to get in there and see how things done. But then, I learned how to chip defects, you know, smooth defects with steel. And, so, I went there for a job and they said, "Well, come over here and if you can chip, you can get a job." And, I was there for thirty-some years, but a lot of other things happened (laughter) during that time. 'Cause I lived on the South Side of Chicago [Illinois] where--and then we moved from there to Gary, Indiana, and I spent thirty years with the steel mills.$$Okay. And, I know you were involved with a strike, right, in the steel mill?$$Strangely enough, I was always involved in 'em and I did it on purpose. But, you see, the steel mill that I was in was International Harvester-owned. And, they would guarantee to get the raise that anybody else in the steel got like the other steel mills that was around, like the one in Gary and what have you. So, Wisconsin Steel was never a part of the steelworkers union. It was separate but they would guarantee you whatever steelworkers got retroactive. So, that was a break.$$Okay. So, did you ever join the union at Wisconsin Steel? It was a company union, she's [Beatrice Lumpkin] saying. What--$$Yeah, it was a company union. It was a company union that--that was you know, International Harvester that made them trucks and tractors and everything else. That's where the steel mill, that made that kind of steel products that many were able to do what they were doing. So, I got a chance to get in that mill and learn how to chip and then I applied for the job and got the job (laughter). It wasn't the--the steel mills wasn't as tight as they became later, you know. You could walk out there and you could walk up to the steel mill and you could walk in there and talk to the guy and find out what's going on.$$No security to stop you?$$Naw, they stop you right there.$$So, you could just walk on in there and talk? Okay. All right, so, did you like working in the steel mill? Was it okay? Was the--was management fair? Did they do--did they treat you all right?$$According to who the management was, you know, usually it was fair. It was fair, usually.$$Okay. So--$$What do you mean, they wasn't fair?$$So, you had a good time working at Wisconsin Steel?$$Huh?$$You had a good time, pleasant time there?$$(Nodding head). Sixteen hours, one time I worked there twenty-one hours a day and they come out and stopped me. But, I need the money, and it wasn't hard to get there, you know. You chip or you do what you had to do until they resupplied and you just work till it get done. You'd do what your job was.$$Okay.$$And, you got paid a fair wage for that?$$I think so.$$You had good medical coverage?$$So far, yeah.$$Okay.$All right. Mr. Lumpkin, can you tell me about what happened when Wisconsin Steel closed [in 1980]?$$We had some marches. I know at that time, Harold Washington was the mayor of the City [of Chicago]. And, Ed Sadlowski [Edward Sadlowski] who was a labor leader in the South Side, father knew about it and I talked with little Ed Sadlowski. And, so, I go to City Hall to talk to Mayor Washington, no chance 'till I started down, and I met little Sadlowski. And, he went right up the way and then he got me to talk, sit down and talked with Harold Washington who came out to a meeting one night at the union hall, and, you know, when he was mayor. And we worked there--worked together hand and hand to what you got doing there. But, in organizing working with many people--you know, you gotta talk to the people and figure out what the best way to get things done there and the struggle in which we won out on the whole thing. But, it's a lot of other things, you have to understand, that when I went in the steel mill, it was much different than the time I came out because we had a lot of improvements that went on in the mill. I went in there to chipper that used the hammer to dig the--and chisel to cut the defects out. And, while I was still there, they put in grinders. Big grinders that would take the steel and would grind it out in a tenth of the time it take a guy to get with a chisel and an air hammer to cut it out. So, it was an improvement that was made in, within the mill and what have you. The idea of getting the company to increase the pay of the guys who was working there. So, he was able to call a meeting and you were able to slow down. Or, you was able to do what was necessary to force the company to sit down and let's talk about real business and that everybody there got a right to make a living. And, so, things like that they, you know, was the things that I liked about working in the mill. You could talk. You call five guys together and say, "Let's talk." And, then the foreman, when the steel goes down, the foreman would have to do what he was gonna do or either he had to listen to what the workers was fighting about. And, that was my idea of what was going on in that mill and it wasn't long for--I think I had thirty years in that mill. But, I knew the guys. I did my job and I never, you know, done something that would force more work on the guy that was working next to me or with me in that plant.