It is within the power of the unions not only to propel the South toward economic solidity, but also along the path that leads to interracial justice and harmony.
That indispensable prerequisite to Southern progress, the unity of Southern working folk, black and white, has twice been set back for generations: first by the abolition of Reconstruction, and subsequently by the perversion of Populism. Now the mantle of responsibility and opportunity has fallen upon the unions, many of which are striving, with far-reaching success, to reawaken Southern workers to the potentialities of strength-through-unity.
But, sad to say, some unions have not accepted this opportunity and responsibility. Of the two hundred major unions in the United States, nineteen of the big craft unions have constitutional bars against Negroes and about thirty others have other excuses for not admitting Negroes. Many other unions, while not practicing outright Negro exclusion, do insist upon separate Jim Crow locals for Negroes. Such Negro locals usually are affiliated with the nearest white local and are generally dominated by it. Ten of the nineteen unions which have constitutional bars against Negroes are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. And so it is that nearly a third of the craft and semicraft membership of the AFL, as well as the entire membership of the operating railroad brotherhoods, is limited to those who are "white, sober, and of good moral character."
In the railroad industry Negroes have been methodically squeezed out for the past several decades. This is being done