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You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
                                                      -Mother Jones

Saturday November 7, 1903
New Orleans, Louisiana - A. F. of L. will grant charter to "colored section" of B. M. W. E.

In a recent letter, Frank Morrison, Secretary of the American Federation of Labor, wrote to John T. Wilson, president of the International Brotherhood of Maintance-of-Way Employees:

Your favor of November was received, in which you state that there is no objection on the part of your organization to the A. F. of L. organizing the colored section. In accordance with this communication, we have today issued a charter to the union in New Orleans.
The sad news here is: had there been an objection, no charter would have been issued. The A. F. of L. will not grant charters to any local union of Negro workers should the international union  object, not even when the international in question has failed to affiliate with the Federation. Shamefully, many of the International Unions will neither accept Negro workers, nor will they surrender jurisdiction over them.

Just this year, Gompers declined to appoint a Negro organizer to the South due to the objection of the Alabama Federation of Labor. Rather than play a leadership role by insisting on unity across the color line, the Executive Council of the American Federation of Labor allows those promoting disunity to rule against the practice of working class solidarity.

History of the Labor Movement in the United States Vol. 3
The Policies and Practices of the American Federation of Labor 1900-1909

-by Philip S Foner
International Pub, 1981

Friday November 7, 1913
Seattle, Washington - A. F. of L. Delegates Should Heed the Warning of Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois
As the delegates begin to gather in Seattle for the annual Convention of the American Federation of Labor which begins on Monday, it is unlikely that the restrictive membership policies practiced by the Federation will much concern them. However, we would point out that out of a total membership of 1,526,000 only about 55,000, or roughly 3.6 per cent, are Negroes. Immigrants and women suffer from the Federation's exclusionary practices as well.

In its April 13, 1913 issue, the Philadelphia Public Ledger reported:

The negroes in this section are practically shut out from all the skilled industries. The department stores may draw attention to the underpaid shop girl, but the few colored women who do find employment in them receive less pay than the sales people. The colored waitress receives a child's pay. The other opportunities open to negroes in big stores are limited to portering and operating elevators. The great railway systems, too, discriminate against the negro, and here he is limited, no matter how high a degree of efficiency he may attain, to the menial a poorly paid task. Our street railways, with their thousands of workmen in the semi-skilled trades, completely bar the colored man. He is excluded from practically all the great industrial plants. This exclusion is especially striking in one great shop that at this minute employs more than 19,000 men daily, but carefully avoids the negro. In brief, the negro is denied the opportunity to earn an honest living in most of the big industries and commercial enterprises of his city.
About a year ago, W. E. B. Du Bois issued this warning to the trade unions of America:
The net result of all this [practice of exclusion] has been to convince the American Negro that his greatest enemy is not the employer who robs him, but his fellow white workingman.
It is the white workingman, and the leaders of the American Federation of Labor who must take the blame for this shameful state of affairs. They must, henceforth, extend the hand of Solidarity across the color line.


Organized Labor & the Black Worker 1619-1981
-by Philip S Foner
International Publishers, 1982

The Lincoln Star
(Lincoln, NE)
-of Nov 9, 1913

Photo: University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries, Archives

Thursday November 7, 2013
More on W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963):

Scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, co-founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, and the Pan African Congresses, international spokesperson for peace and for the rights of oppressed minorities, W.E.B. Du Bois was a son of Massachusetts who articulated the strivings of African Americans and developed a trenchant analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century.
University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries, Archives
(See link above.)


Solidarity Forever-UAW
Sung by Angela Kelley and Troy Coman of Local 898, Rawsonville

         -Ralph Chaplin, 1915

Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 11:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

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