Archive ID: 1981-077-079z

Local 1033 display, panel 24

Date Created: undated

Donor: Edward Sadlowski

Media Type: Photograph

Language: English


This panel depicts black union leaders who were crucial to the history of steel union organizing in Southeast Chicago. On the upper left is a photograph of Joe Cook, the founding president of Local 1029 at Valley Mould and Iron Company on the East Side. Cook was President of Local 1029 from 1936 until his retirement in the early 1960s. He was a leading figure in Calumet region labor circles and was present as a sympathy striker at the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937 which occurred at Republic Steel. On the upper right is a photo of Hank Johnson, a well-known organizer with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) in the Calumet region during the 1930s. Johnson was raised in Texas as the son of an IWW “Wobbly” unionist who narrowly escaped lynching through the aid of a fellow (white) unionist who was later killed in retaliation. After working in a variety of jobs in different locations, Johnson attended City College in New York City. Affiliated with the United Negro Congress, Johnson came to Chicago to engage in union organizing. Openly a communist, he was also a well-known organizer for the Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee (PWOC) at the Chicago stockyards which employed large numbers of black workers. Johnson was a well-known orator who used humor to convince both blacks and whites that they had a common cause in the unions. A. Philip Randolph was a prominent civil rights leader and socialist as well as the most well-known black unionist in the United States. In 1925, he became President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters which in the 1930s achieved recognition from the Pullman Car Company, located just across Lake Calumet from Southeast Chicago. Randolph would speak at a protest rally at the Civic Opera House in downtown Chicago in the aftermath of the 1937 Memorial Day Massacre. He would also be with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders during King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

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Local 1033 (Republic)   Unions   Other/Unknown   Other/Unknown   African-American   Photograph   Labor   LTV Steel   Republic Steel   Steelworkers   Workers