Subversive Historian – 10/27/08

The National Negro Labor Council

Fifty-seven years ago on this day in people’s history, the National Negro Labor Council was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio. On October 27th, 1951, delegates from across the country approved a program for the newly formed organization that set out to promote civil rights within the labor movement. Labor leader William Hood delivered a speech at the founding convention titled, “Uncle Tom is Dead,” and Paul Robeson sang and spoke as well. Delegates approved a program for the NNLC that called for the end of discrimination in the workplace, the construction of 100,000 new jobs for African-Americans, and making the Fair Employment Practices Committee clauses a part of union contract negotiations. Detractors of the organization, which unfortunately included the AFL and the CIO, tried to discredit the NNLC as a communist-front, and its leaders were eventually called before the House on Un-American Activities.

After five years, the NNLC folded making it one of the most short-lived but important civil rights groups, and for that, it should never be forgotten by history.

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