Who the hell appointed you as guardian of all the Negroes in America?
George Meany, AFL-CIO President, in a savage verbal attack against A. Philip Randolph, at the 1959 Convention Plenary
On the day Title VII of the Civil Rights Act became effective in 1965, reaction from organized labor was mixed. “The fact is we have a problem…. [We must] take them [Negroes] in… provided they are qualified.”
Peter Schoemann, President of the Plumber's Union,New York Times, July 3, 1965
It's the law. We've got to take the niggers in.
Unnamed New Jersey building trades leader,New York Times, July 3, 1965
The foregoing examples of the NAACP's efforts to desegregate a broad range of labor unions demonstrate that neither the AFL-CIO nor the federation's constituent unions, with very few exceptions, have permitted any significant progress in opening the American workplace to blacks or other minorities. From its earliest days during the