Posts tagged History

todaysdocument:

Announcing the National Archives Transcription Pilot Project! 
You can help the National Archives make historical documents more accessible by contributing to transcriptions!
Transcriptions help in searching for the document as well as in reading and understanding the document. The work you do transcribing a handwritten or typed document will help the next person discover and use that record.
Available documents include letters to a civil war spy, presidential records, suffrage petitions, and fugitive slave case files, and today’s featured document - the Credentials of Hiram Rhodes Revels. 
Start Transcribing »


A worthy cause!

todaysdocument:

Announcing the National Archives Transcription Pilot Project! 

You can help the National Archives make historical documents more accessible by contributing to transcriptions!

Transcriptions help in searching for the document as well as in reading and understanding the document. The work you do transcribing a handwritten or typed document will help the next person discover and use that record.

Available documents include letters to a civil war spy, presidential records, suffrage petitions, and fugitive slave case files, and today’s featured document - the Credentials of Hiram Rhodes Revels. 

Start Transcribing »

A worthy cause!

Management is also becoming aware that young workers, on whom they must rely for their future labor supply, are more restless, independent and rebellious than the older employees whose spirit has been gradually subdued by the endless repetition of doing dull, mind-numbing automatic tasks year in and year out.

"The Lordstown Syndrome," Clayton Fritchey, for the Associated Press (appearing here in the Lewiston Evening Journal, Lewiston, Maine), April 6, 1972

Fritchey finishes his article with this:

Some companies are going in for what they call “job enrichment.” The theory, according to the Wall Street Journal, is that workers become motivated when their jobs are seasoned with “satisfiers,” such as recognition, a sense of achievement, and personal growth. “There’s no question that people are motivated by needs other than just money,” says one plant manager.

In Germany, Lufthansa, the international airline, lets many of its employees work as much or as little as they please; they check in and out at their own convenience. In Sweden, Saab-Scania is touting a new assembly line that uses an industrial robot to assume many monotonous operations. The innovation is expected to allow a [sic] workers to produce an entire engine, instead of just a single part of it.

There is one postscript to all this. Not all workers, the UAW newsletter points out, resent boring, repetitive jobs. Some, it says, “are happy doing what drives others up the wall.” It concludes there is no pat answer to the problem, except “there does seem a need for more exploration in job enrichment so that work is not one big grind in a thwarted lifetime.”

With Selma and the voting rights bill one era of our struggle came to a close and a new era came into being. Now out struggle is for genuine equality which means economic equality. For we know now that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee? […] What does it profit a man to be able to eat at the swankiest integrated restaurant when he doesn’t earn enough money to take his wife out to dine? […] What does it profit one to have access to the hotels of our city and the motels of our highway when we don’t earn enough money to take our family on a vacation? […] What does it profit one to be able to attend an integrated school when he doesn’t earn enough money to buy his children school clothes?

Martin Luther King Jr., speaking at an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees mass meeting, Bishop Charles Mason Temple, Church of God in Christ, Memphis, Tennessee, on March 18, 1968.

Martin Luther King Jr., All Labor Has Dignity, Boston: Beacon Press, 2011, ed. Michael Honey, pp.175-176

Editing, proofreading, setting type, and printing a newspaper at the San Jose Mercury News in 1970. Fascinating stuff.

This video was produced by Carroll Films, and belongs to the Academic Film Archive of North America, streamable through the Internet Archive.

Via The Atlantic

nwkarchivist:

“All In The Family” Premiered On This Day In 1971
America may not be ready for CBS’s “All in the Family,”…the curtain opens with a lusty hippie type strenuously trying to drag his microskirted wife into bed before her folks come home from church.  Mom (Jean Stapleton) and Dad (Carroll O’Connor) arrive in time to thwart them.  In short order, his Dad calls his son-in-law a “dumb Polack,” malignes Jews, blacks and Puerto Ricans.  “Family” is clearly a long walk from “Father Knows Best.”
Newsweek January 18, 1971

Here’s Carroll O’Connor, who played Archie Bunker, interviewed in the June 1972 issue of Ebony magazine:

Is [Archie] White America? Well, I’d say that he certainly reflects a slice of White America. It’s a slice that is, like Archie, standing on a sort of bridge between the past and tomorrow. These are the people who know that the past is going. It is going! Archie is on the bridge. Archie doesn’t want the past to go and we show him as that kind of man. He’s a man who doesn’t want to cross over. He doesn’t want to witness the future. He’s just not going to go over that bridge. Now this makes him a loser, because everyone else is going to go over and leave him behind.

Jefferson Cowie describes Archie Bunker as an “historical relic, the pop icon of the ‘authoritarian working-class,’ who fought and railed against the New Politics of the 1960s,”* while noting that All in the Family was hugely popular among the white working class it set out to satirize. To lots of AITF fans, Archie spoke to the bubbling dissatisfaction among many whites towards their jobs, specifically the repetitive and boring nature of work on the production line, and of a resentment of ethnic minorities who appeared to have captured the attention of the country’s political system. Pete Hamill, in an article for New York magazine’s April 14, 1969 issue, quoted a white ironworker:

I average about $8,500 a year, pretty good money. I work my ass off. But  I can’t make it. I come home at the end of the week, I start paying the  bills, I give my wife some money for food. And there’s nothing left.  Maybe, if I work overtime, I get $15 or $20 to spend on myself. But most  of the time, there’s nothin’. They take $65 a week out of my pay. I  have to come up with $90 a month rent. But every time I turn around, one  of the kids needs shoes or a dress or something for school. And then I  pick up a paper and read about a million people on welfare in New York  or spades rioting in some college or some fat welfare bitch  demanding—you know, not askin’, demanding—a credit card at Korvette’s … I work for a living and / can’t get a credit card at Korvette’s … You  know, you see that, and you want to go out and strangle someone.

It’s a narrow, reactionary view of America in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but this was how the world seemed to work to lots of people stuck in unrewarding, blue collar jobs. Archie Bunker is easy to laugh at as a relic of an earlier age, where a white man would have no trouble finding and keeping a decent, union job without having to compete with blacks or latinos, but there’s also space for sympathy and understanding of his plight.
* Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, New York, London: The New Press, 2010, p.193

nwkarchivist:

“All In The Family” Premiered On This Day In 1971

America may not be ready for CBS’s “All in the Family,”…the curtain opens with a lusty hippie type strenuously trying to drag his microskirted wife into bed before her folks come home from church.  Mom (Jean Stapleton) and Dad (Carroll O’Connor) arrive in time to thwart them.  In short order, his Dad calls his son-in-law a “dumb Polack,” malignes Jews, blacks and Puerto Ricans.  “Family” is clearly a long walk from “Father Knows Best.”

Newsweek January 18, 1971

Here’s Carroll O’Connor, who played Archie Bunker, interviewed in the June 1972 issue of Ebony magazine:

Is [Archie] White America? Well, I’d say that he certainly reflects a slice of White America. It’s a slice that is, like Archie, standing on a sort of bridge between the past and tomorrow. These are the people who know that the past is going. It is going! Archie is on the bridge. Archie doesn’t want the past to go and we show him as that kind of man. He’s a man who doesn’t want to cross over. He doesn’t want to witness the future. He’s just not going to go over that bridge. Now this makes him a loser, because everyone else is going to go over and leave him behind.

Jefferson Cowie describes Archie Bunker as an “historical relic, the pop icon of the ‘authoritarian working-class,’ who fought and railed against the New Politics of the 1960s,”* while noting that All in the Family was hugely popular among the white working class it set out to satirize. To lots of AITF fans, Archie spoke to the bubbling dissatisfaction among many whites towards their jobs, specifically the repetitive and boring nature of work on the production line, and of a resentment of ethnic minorities who appeared to have captured the attention of the country’s political system. Pete Hamill, in an article for New York magazine’s April 14, 1969 issue, quoted a white ironworker:

I average about $8,500 a year, pretty good money. I work my ass off. But I can’t make it. I come home at the end of the week, I start paying the bills, I give my wife some money for food. And there’s nothing left. Maybe, if I work overtime, I get $15 or $20 to spend on myself. But most of the time, there’s nothin’. They take $65 a week out of my pay. I have to come up with $90 a month rent. But every time I turn around, one of the kids needs shoes or a dress or something for school. And then I pick up a paper and read about a million people on welfare in New York or spades rioting in some college or some fat welfare bitch demanding—you know, not askin’, demanding—a credit card at Korvette’s … I work for a living and / can’t get a credit card at Korvette’s … You know, you see that, and you want to go out and strangle someone.

It’s a narrow, reactionary view of America in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but this was how the world seemed to work to lots of people stuck in unrewarding, blue collar jobs. Archie Bunker is easy to laugh at as a relic of an earlier age, where a white man would have no trouble finding and keeping a decent, union job without having to compete with blacks or latinos, but there’s also space for sympathy and understanding of his plight.

* Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, New York, London: The New Press, 2010, p.193

Another Merle Haggard song with a similar theme, his top 30 hit from 1973, “If We Make it Through December.”

This was actually first released as a Christmas song. Coming in the middle of the 1973 oil crisis, which sent gas prices for Americans through the roof, Haggard’s song echoes the worrying political and economic atmosphere of the time.

GAS RATIONING SYSTEM (ODD-EVEN PLAN) IS ANNOUNCED IN AN AFTERNOON NEWSPAPER BEING READ AT A SERVICE STATION WITH A SIGN IN THE BACKGROUND STATING NO GAS IS AVAILABLE, 01/1974

(Photo credit: David Falconer for the DOCUMERICA project, Environmental Protection Agency, January 1974)

Merl Haggard singing “Are the Good Times Really Over?” on television at some point in the mid-1980s.

Haggard had a knack for crafting simple country songs expressing deep concern for the economic security of the American working and middle classes in the final third of the twentieth century. Notice that this broadcast begins with Norman Rockwell’s representation of the “Freedom from want,” an image intended to capture the comfort and security of an economically strong United States at the dawn of the post-war era. Much of Haggard’s work during the 1970s, his creative peak, focuses on the souring of Roosevelt and Rockwell’s promise, and the beginnings of economic stagnation. Of course huge strides were taken in the intervening years to drastically improve the quality of life for working Americans, but songs such as “Are the Good Times Really Over” suggest Haggard saw the signs of national decline all around him. As always with Haggard, his own view of the cultural and social changes of this era is complex and difficult to draw out from just the lyrics, but this is a song intended to reflect the struggle going on in many American homes between a deep pessimism and a contrasting faith in the ability of the United States to return to the path it seemed to have slipped from in the 1970s.

The final segment of President Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights” address, given to the nation via radio on January 11, 1944.

Roosevelt built from his Four Freedoms speech in proposing several economic rights he envisioned for Americans in the post-war world. Here’s the full text of this address:

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens.

For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

What’s most significant here is the first right Roosevelt specifies, “the right to a useful and remunerative job;” There really was a brief period in American history where the Federal government held the objective of full employment, and proposed to provide jobs for the unemployed when and where necessary. The result of this was the 1946 Employment Act, which abandoned the promise of government intervention to provide jobs if full employment wasn’t reached, and later the 1978 Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act (otherwise known as the Humphrey-Hawkins Act), which again came much watered down from the promises it set out to fulfill.

todaysdocument:

President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his “Four Freedoms” speech on January 6, 1941, named for his ”four essential human freedoms,”:  freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. As America became engaged in World War II, painter Norman Rockwell did a series of paintings illustrating the four freedoms as international goals that went beyond just defeating the Axis powers.

Not strictly labor history, but important in understanding the focus of national attention in the post-war United States, particularly on that third freedom, the freedom from want.

todaysdocument:

President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his “Four Freedoms” speech on January 6, 1941, named for his ”four essential human freedoms,”: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. As America became engaged in World War II, painter Norman Rockwell did a series of paintings illustrating the four freedoms as international goals that went beyond just defeating the Axis powers.

Not strictly labor history, but important in understanding the focus of national attention in the post-war United States, particularly on that third freedom, the freedom from want.

Cesar Chavez and California State Rep. Maxine Waters alongside General Motors employees at the Van Nuys Assembly plant in 1983. The Van Nuys workers had a rocky relationship with GM in the late 1970s and early 1980s, responding angrily to the company’s attempts to increase productivity. GM closed the plant in 1992.
Photo via LA Observed

Cesar Chavez and California State Rep. Maxine Waters alongside General Motors employees at the Van Nuys Assembly plant in 1983. The Van Nuys workers had a rocky relationship with GM in the late 1970s and early 1980s, responding angrily to the company’s attempts to increase productivity. GM closed the plant in 1992.

Photo via LA Observed