Skip to main content

UAW Women's Department: Lillian Hatcher Records

Identifier: LR000972

Scope and Content

This collection reflects Lillian Hatcher's work with the UAW, especially in the Women's Department; her activities in many civil rights and feminist agencies and groups, particularly in Detroit; and her involvement in Democratic Party politics.

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Blacks, 1950-1975 Commissions on the status of women, 1965-1975 Contract compliance, 1970-1975 Current Topic Study Club, 1955-1965 Detroit Commission on Community Relations, 1972-1974 Detroit Human Rights Department, 1974-1976 Discrimination, 1950-1975 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1965-1975 Equal pay and Equal Pay Act, 1965-1975 Equal Rights Amendment, 1965-1975 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1960-1968 Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 1960-1975 Michigan Commission on Legislative Apportionment, 1971-1972 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1950-1975 National Council of Negro Women, 1955-1975 National Organization for Women, 1965-1975 UAW, women's activities in, 1945-1975 UAW, women's educational classes, 1955-1975

Among the important correspondents are: Davis, Caroline Deakins, Stella Fraser, Douglas Griffiths, Martha Haener, Dorothy Jeffrey, Mildred Kleiner, A. Robert Madar, Olga Oliver, William H. Reuther, Walter P. Schlossberg, Stephen
Series Description: Series I, UAW Fair Practices and Anti-Discrimination Department, 1945-1958, Box 1: Correspondence, memos, notes, reports, surveys and newspaper clippings relating to Hatcher's work in this department, especially on discrimination against blacks and on fair employment practices.

Series II, UAW Women's Department, 1942-1979, Boxes 1-19: Subseries A: General.and Regional Files, 1948-1978, Boxes 1-11, Correspondence, discussion, conference and workshop materials, by-laws, mailing lists, meeting notices, reports and data on finances and tours. Particularly complete correspondence, class and conference materials for Regions 1, 1A, IB, 1C, IE and the department's Women's Committees.

Subseries B: Detroit Activities, 1957-1976, Boxes 11-12, Correspondence, minutes, plans, ordinances, reports, minutes and agendas, reference, contract compliance and conference materials, relating especially to Hatcher's involvement with the Detroit Human Rights Department.

Subseries C: Reference Materials, 1942-1979, Boxes 13-19, Fliers, bulletins, clippings, reports, legal complaints and decisions, fact sheets and other materials relating to civil rights matters, labor and women, which provided background information for Hatcher's work in the Women's Department.

Series III, UAW General and Office Files, 1952-1979, Boxes 20-21: Constitutions, agreements, fliers, bulletins, convention, discussion, conference, strike and reference materials generated by the UAW and its departments. Also included are documents from the 1974 UAW convention which Hatcher attended and a speech she made to the 1969 Foundry Wage and Hour Convention.

Series IV, Political Activities, 1953-1976, Boxes 22-28: Subseries A: Democratic Party, 1958-1974, Box 22, Correspondence, notes, fliers, mailing lists, bulletins, minutes and convention materials relating to Hatcher's activities in local, state and national politics. There are materials on both the Democratic First and Thirteenth Congressional Districts in Detroit and on the 1968 Democratic National Convention which Hatcher attended.

Subseries B: Michigan Legislative Reapportionment, 1964-1973, Boxes 23-27, Agendas, minutes, correspondence, maps, plans and clippings on the Commission on Legislative Apportionment, 1971-1972, pertaining to Hatcher's work as a commissioner. Materials consist primarily of Senate and House maps and plans for reapportionment.

Sub series C: Reference Materials, 1953-1976, Box 28, Fliers, bulletins, pamphlets, plans, charters, voting records, clippings which relate to local, state and national politics but do not reflect Hatcher's specific political activities. It includes a 1977 draft plan for the Michigan juvenile justice system and information on revising the Detroit city charter, 1972-1973

Series V, Personal Materials, 1951-1976, Box 29: Correspondence, financial data, clippings, brochures, fliers, mailing lists and other materials reflecting Hatcher's personal involvement in religious and community affairs, unrelated to her professional activities. There are materials on the Lutheran Human Relations Association, the Current Topic Study Club and the Hypertension Coordinating and Planning Council.


  • 1942 - 1979
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1975


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


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.


Lillian Hatcher was born on May 30, 1915, in Greenville, Alabama. She graduated from Northeastern High School in Detroit and attended workers' extension classes at the University of Michigan in the early 1940s. In 1943 she began work as an aircraft riveter and as one of the first black women hired at Chrysler's Briggs-Connor Plant. In that same year she joined UAW Local 742 (later Local 212). In 1944 she was elected to the executive board of the local and was also appointed the first black female international representative of the UAW.

She began work as a representative as assistant director to the War Policy Division Women's Bureau. In 1946 the Women's Bureau was transferred to the Fair Practices and Anti-Discrimination Department, and Hatcher joined its staff. In 1958 she moved to the Women's Department which had evolved from the Women's Bureau. Here Hatcher was primarily responsible for organizing and participating in classes and conferences for women union members, and for maintaining close ties with numerous local and national organizations concerned with civil rights. Hatcher was named coordinator of the Women's Auxiliaries which was transferred to the Women's Department in 1971, and she remained on the department staff until her retirement from the UAW in June of 1980.

As a result of both her professional responsibilities and her personal convictions, Lillian Hatcher was actively involved in such groups as the Detroit Human Rights Department (1958-1974); the Michigan Constitutional Convention (1961) and the Michigan Commission on Legislative Apportionment (1971-1972); and, at the national level, the NAACP, the National Council of Negro Women and many other civil rights and feminist organizations. She was also heavily involved in Democratic Party politics on all levels.

Hatcher has continued to live in Detroit since her retirement.


14.5 Linear Feet (29 MB)


Subjects include: women workers; labor education; politics


Arranged in 5 series – Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Boxes 1-19), Series 3 (Boxes 20-21), Series 4 (Boxes 22-28), and Series 5 (Box 29). Folders are arranged alphabetically or chronologically depending upon the series or subseries.

Series 2 and 4 are each divided into 3 subseries.


The UAW Women's Department: Lillian Hatcher Records was placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in August and November of 1974 and November of 1979 by Mrs. Hatcher.

Related Materials

Lillian Hatcher Papers


Books, UAW convention reports, resolutions, pamphlets, booklets, publications, department and local fact and news sheets, AFL-CIO publications and pamphlets, and a considerable number of other materials on a variety of subjects received with this collection have been added to the Archives Library.

Thirteen photographs and political stickers have been transferred to the Archives Audiovisual Collection.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in August 1985.
Guide to the UAW Women's Department: Lillian Hatcher Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA