Labor History Needs to be Taught

Randi Weingarten

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said that labor history should be a regular part of every public school curriculum when she addressed the national Alliance for Retired Americans Legislative Conference in Washington DC on September 8.

Apparently, the Central Oklahoma AFL-CIO agrees, because labor history has been a major part of their annual "Oklahoma Laborfest" presentations in Oklahoma City.

Labor history has long been part of our North Texas Jobs with Justice program, and there is an extensive, though somewhat sloppy, labor history located on this site.

At the Dallas AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast in the Infomart on September 5th, the "Labor's Hero" award went to Dr. George Green for his many contributions to collecting and publishing Texas labor history. Green started the Labor Archives that are located on the 6th floor of the library at University of Texas at Arlington. Those archives are said to be the largest in the Southwest.

Dr Green recently retired, although he certainly keeps his hand in labor history. Up and coming young Labor Historian, Max Krochmal, accompanied Green at the Labor Day Breakfast.

George Green and Max Krochmal

The current Texas Observer carries a labor history article that is of special importance to North Texans. In it, author Dick Reavis reveals the highly suspicious death of an important labor figure from Ft Worth. The man was leader of a large Unemployed Council in the early 1930s. He was arrested shortly before Labor Day after sending a telegram to Governor Miriam Ferguson to complain about her having cut off some benefits to the jobless.

The Fort Worth grand jury found nothing criminal in the man's death, but Reavis' article shows that he was very likely beaten to death while in police custody.