The Little-known History of Labor Rights & Civil Rights

A few weeks ago I attended the United Auto Workers Region 9A 18th Annual Civil Rights Award Recognition dinner in Hartford, Connecticuit. The evening was a stirring tribute to the work of those who through their work in labor rights have been advancing civil rights. For most Americans the story of how labor organizations like the UAW were key partners in the Civil Rights movement of the mid 20th century is an unknown piece of trivia. From the UAW’s support of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 which would bring the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to national attention, to UAW’s support of the freedom riders and voters registration of African Americans in the 1960’s, to fighting for women worker’s rights, to supporting the struggle of Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers, the United Auto Workers has served as an essential ally in supporting movements for greater equality and social justice.