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Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Records

 Collection
Identifier: LR001754
The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, convention material, speeches, publicity and other items documenting the national CBTU's and its chapters' lobbying activity for labor and civil rights issues, support for strikes, involvement in the anti-apartheid movement and sponsorship of projects to develop leadership and improve the quality of life within the African American community.

Important Subjects in the Collection: Affirmative action programs African American labor leaders African Americans--Health and hygiene African Americans--Politics and government African Americans--Suffrage African Americans--Training of Africare Apartheid Charles A. Hayes NAFTA National Coalition on Black Voter Participation South Africa Trade-unions--African American membership TransAfrica

Important Correspondents in the Collection: Willie L. Baker, Jr. Leonard L. Ball James Bell Wilburn (Wil) Duncan Sherryl Gordon Geraldine Johnson Henry Lancaster William Lucy Lew Moye Anita Patterson Horace Sheffield Irene D. Thomas

Series Description: Series I, Executive Council, 1976-1995, Boxes 1-2: Minutes, financial statements, attendance rosters, correspondence, reports and other material distributed for discussion at CBTU executive council meetings. Files are arranged chronologically.

Series II, Convention, Conferences, 1973-1995, Boxes 2-4: Programs, executive council reports, correspondence, elections material, position papers, resolutions, constitutions, bylaws, speeches, publicity and other material from the CBTU annual convention and other programs sponsored by the organization. Files are arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.

Series III, Correspondence, Publications, Speeches, 1972-1995, Boxes 4-6: Correspondence and memoranda of William Lucy and his assistants, Leonard Ball and Wil Duncan; articles, testimony and speeches by William Lucy; CBTU publications; and publicity about the organization and its president. CBTU's involvement in the anti-apartheid movement is well documented. Files are arranged alphabetically with correspondence first, followed by publications, publicity, speeches and testimony.

Series IV, Chapters, Regions, National Committees, 1975-1995, Boxes 6-10: Correspondence, activity reports, meeting minutes, membership information and publicity for chapter-sponsored events. The series also contains the files of the CBTU National Women's Committee and the conference it sponsors at the annual convention. Chapter files are arranged alphabetically by state and then by city and are followed by regional and national committee files.

Series V, Organizations, 1981-1995, Boxes 10-11: Correspondence, reports, reference material and promotional literature of organizations to which the CBTU belonged or whose projects it sponsored. Especially well documented is the work of TransAfrica, the principal black American lobby with Congress and the Administration for African and Caribbean affairs. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Dates

  • 1972 - 1995

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

11 Linear Feet (11 SB)

Abstract

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists was founded at a conference in Chicago in 1972 attended by more than 1,200 black union officials and rank-and-file members. By 2001, CBTU counted more than fifty chapters, including one in Ontario, Canada. The organization committed itself to using political action and union organizing campaigns to increase black participation and influence in the labor movement and insure social and economic progress for working people and the poor. The collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, convention material, speeches, publicity and other items documenting the national CBTU's and its chapters' lobbying activity for labor and civil rights issues, support for strikes, involvement in the anti-apartheid movement and sponsorship of projects to develop leadership and improve the quality of life within the African American community.

History

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists was founded at a conference in Chicago on September 23-24, 1972 attended by more than 1,200 black union officials and rank-and-file members. The meeting was called by a steering committee of five black union leaders who hoped to galvanize outrage at the AFL-CIO Executive Council's neutrality in the 1972 presidential election into support for an independent organization which would give voice to the concerns of blacks and other minority constituencies in the labor movement — American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy, United Auto Workers Vice President Nelson Jack Edwards, Washington Teachers' Union President William Simons, Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen Vice President Charles Hayes and District 65 Distributive Workers President Cleveland Robinson. Robinson, A. Philip Randolph's successor as head of the Negro American Labor Council, pledged NALC's resources to the fledgling organization.

In 1973, at a constitutional conference in January and its first convention in May, both held in Washington, D.C., the CBTU formalized its structure (the steering committee was expanded to twenty) and created organizing committees for chapters in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Columbus, Ohio. By 2001, CBTU counted more than fifty chapters, including one in Ontario, Canada. The organization committed itself to using political action and union organizing campaigns to increase black participation and influence in the labor movement and insure social and economic progress for working people and the poor.

CBTU has sponsored regional and national conferences and workshops around the issues of voter registration and education, women's rights, job training and occupational safety, environmental justice, health care for the disadvantaged and opposition to apartheid and NAFTA. It has cooperated with like-minded organizations to advocate for government policies supportive of minority workers and their communities and an end to racial oppression in southern Africa.

Arrangement

Arranged in 5 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-2), Series 2 (Boxes 2-4), Series 3 (Boxes 4-6), Series 4 (Boxes 6-10), and Series 5 (Boxes 10-11). Folders are arranged alphabetically and/or chronologically depending on the series.

Acquisition

The records of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in August and September of 2001 by President William Lucy and the CBTU Executive Council.

Transfers

A large number of photographs and some convention memorabilia received with the collection have been transferred to the Archives Audiovisual Department.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in March 2002.
Title
Guide to the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Records
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
2002-03
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
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Detroit MI 48202 USA