Black History Month resources available from CFT
In observation of Black History Month, our statewide union, the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), has organized a collection of resources for educators, labor unionists, families and communities that highlight the work of Black educators and labor organizers and reflect on how we can advance the ongoing struggle for racial justice. Below are some examples of the resources provided:
African American labor history guides, articles, books, and films including how unions have brought gains for workers of color, immigrants and women in California, the impact of the Great Recession on public employment, the job losses in the public sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing fight for a decent minimum wage.
These educators, who fought white supremacy and helped change society, include Septima Poinsette Clark, who Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “Mother of the Movement for her work in literacy and for voting rights as well as to get Black teachers hired at universities. There’s also psychology professor Edmund Gordon, who founded the federal Head Start program and the Institute for Urban Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and Fanny Jackson Coppin, the first African American principal and school superintendent who advocated higher education for women.
2 books about Black workers, race and labor
Black Freedom Fighters in Steel
Ruth Needleman’s book tells the story of five black organizers, long-distance runners who were indispensable to building the steel workers union as well as the civil rights movement in northwest Indiana.
For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America since 1865
Robert H. Ziegler’s book analyzes the position of African American workers in the U.S. economy and social order over the past century and a half in this comprehensive study focusing on black workers’ efforts to gain equal rights in the workplace. It deals extensively with organized labor’s complex and tumultuous relationship with African Americans.