Labor Day reflection: A requiem of thanksgiving – Colored National Labor Union

As summer comes to an end, Labor Day brings appreciation of the sacrifices for an equitable America. After emancipation, newly freed black people sought economic independence and parity with their white American contemporaries. Emerging from this pursuit was the creation of black organized labor. One of these groups, which approached labor rights from the intersectional identities of the people who did the labor, was the mostly black Washerwomen. Not apprised of the rights of white women of the era, black women forged together to establish one of the first women’s labor unions in America. For more information, see Tera W. Hunter’s book, “To ’Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors after the Civil War.” In 1869, the Colored National Labor Union was created due to discrimination black people faced in mostly white, larger national labor unions. Its expansion captured the attention of civil rights leaders of the era, prompting Frederick Douglass to become its second president in 1872.


Posted on Monday, September 04, 2023 by Mr. Ari McCaskill (