Labor Control & State Power

  • 8.4 Memorial Day Massacre, 1937  *An eyewitness narration of unedited newsreel footage of the 1937 Memorial Day Massacre in Chicago, Illinois when steel unionists and their supporters were met with police violence on their way to demand the right to set up a mass picket in front of Republic Steel. 
  • 8.5 Murder of Frank Hanes, 1939. *These three letters describe the murder of an African American farm worker named Frank Hanes by Mississippi plantation owner Tom Alexander. Bernice Wims wrote to the U.S. attorney general to request an investigation, but the federal government refused to act.
  • 8.6 Charles Houston, Scottsboro Case, Revisited, 1939. *Charles Houston delivered this speech to an International Labor Defense conference on July 8th, 1939. His “Special Paper on…Educational Equality” speech draws a connection between labor, civil rights, and education. Houston specifically links the Scottsboro Case to labor control. 
  • 8-7 The Soup Song 1930. “The Soup Song” uses humor and sarcasm to convey workers’ experiences and attitudes during the Great Depression.  As a widely popular participatory song, it was an effective tool for labor organizing.
  • 9.2 Chavez Explains the Need for Boycotts, 1972  *A TV interview with United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez conducted at the height of the struggle during the 1972 election season.