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Genora and Sol Dollinger Papers

 Collection
Identifier: LP000633
The Genora and Sol Dollinger Collection consists of correspondence, oral interviews, news articles, scholarly papers, police and FBI investigative files focusing especially on the 1936-1937 Flint sit-down strike and the Women's Emergency Brigade's role in it, including material about two award-winning documentaries chronicling the historic event, "With Babies and Banners" and "The Great Sit-Down." To a lesser extent the collection documents the Dollingers' activities as members of the Socialist Workers Party and the factionalism of the UAW's formative years as well as the dissident groups that emerged decades later.

Dates

  • 1914 - 1995
  • Majority of material found within 1940 - 1989

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.
RESEARCHERS USING THIS COLLECTION MUST SIGN A RESTRICTED USE FORM. NO NAMES APPEARING IN THE FBI, MICHIGAN STATE POLICE OR DETROIT POLICE RED SQUAD FILES, OTHER THAN THOSE OF GENORA AND SOL DOLLINGER, MAY BE CITED WITHOUT THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL NAMED. NO UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL IN RESTRICTED FILES MAY BE COPIED.

Extent

5 Linear Feet (5 SB, 1 OS)

Abstract

A highly active union advocate, Genora Dollinger was a charter member of the Flint Socialist Party and organized Flint Women's Auxiliary #10 and the Women's Emergency Brigade, which played a crucial role in the success of the Flint Sit-down Strike of 1937. Her husband, Sole Dollinger was an organizer for the Socialist Workers Party. The papers of Genora and Sol Dollinger relate largely to Ms. Dollinger's involvement in the Flint Sit-down Strike, and to a lesser extent, the Dollinger's activities as members of the Socialist Workers Party and Ms. Dollinger's involvement in women's and civil rights advocacy.

History

Genora Johnson Dollinger was born April 20, 1913 and grew up in Flint, Michigan, the eldest daughter of middle-class businessman, Raymond Albro and his wife, Lora. In 1930 she married Kermit Johnson, whose father Carl introduced her to radical politics, and a year later became a charter member of the Flint Socialist Party. She gained fame as the organizer of Flint Women's Auxiliary #10 and the Women's Emergency Brigade, which helped the UAW win the sit-down strike against General Motors in 1936-1937 that marked a major turning point in American labor history. Her husband led the strike at the Chevrolet engine plant No. 4.

In 1941 Genora Johnson met fellow Socialist, Sol Dollinger, and a year later they were married. Solomon Dollinger was born in Youngstown, Ohio October 7, 1920 and grew up in New York City. At fifteen, he followed his older brother's example and joined the Young People's Socialist League. He worked for the WPA and as a union organizer with his brother before getting his sailor's papers in 1941. In the 1940s and '50s he found work as a merchant seaman and in the automobile plants and organized for the Socialist Workers Party in Flint.

Blacklisted in Flint, Ms. Dollinger took jobs at auto plants in Detroit, including the Briggs Mfg. plant, where she was elected chief steward of an all-women's department and a member of the Local 212 Education Committee. She and four other Briggs union activists were severely beaten by company-hired thugs in 1945. In the 1950s she ran for Congress on the SWP ticket and served on the Flint NAACP board. From 1960 until the family's move to Los Angeles in 1966, she worked as development director for the Michigan ACLU. In Los Angeles Sol Dollinger became executive director of the Western Region of the American Technion Society, while Genora involved herself in feminist, civil rights and environmental causes. Genora Dollinger died October 11, 1995.

Arrangement

Folders are computer-arranged alphabetically in this finding aid, but may actually be dispersed throughout several boxes in the collection. Note carefully the box number for each folder heading.

Acquisition

The papers of Genora and Sol Dollinger were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in December of 1995 by Sol Dollinger and were opened for research in November of 1998.

Transfers

Genora Dollinger's Emergency Brigade beret and arm band and a button honoring Women's Auxiliary #10 issued by the UAW in 1937 have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection as have a number of audio and video tapes of speeches by Genora Dollinger and others and of interviews with Flint sit-downers.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in 1998.
Title
Guide to the Genora and Sol Dollinger Papers
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
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Detroit MI 48202 USA