"The white and colored … must come together and work together… The day has passed for the establishment of organizations based upon color…"
African American delegates met on this date in 1869 in Washington, D.C., to form the Colored National Labor Union. African Americans were excluded from existing labor unions, such as when white workers formed the National Labor Union (NLU). In 1869 several black delegates were invited to the annual meeting of the NLU, where Isaac Myers, a prominent organizer of African-American laborers, spoke eloquently for solidarity, saying that white and black workers ought to organize together for higher wages and a comfortable standard of living. However, the white unions refused to allow African Americans to join their ranks. In response, Myers met with other African-American laborers to form what became the Colored National Labor Union. Unlike the NLU, the CNLU welcomed members of all races. Isaac Myers was the CNLU's founding president; Frederick Douglas became president in 1872.
DC LABORFEST 2022