News: The latest in our series of BLACK HISTORY MONTH LABOR PROFILES honors FANNIE LOU HAMER. Hamer began working in the cotton fields at age six and in the 1950s, she and her husband worked as sharecroppers in Mississippi. In 1962, she was kicked off the plantation where she had lived and worked for 18 years after she volunteered to lead a group of African Americans seeking to register to vote. Hamer immediately went to work as a field organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Despite being jailed and beaten, Hamer returned to Mississippi to organize voter registration drives, including the "Freedom Ballot Campaign" in 1963, and the "Freedom Summer" initiative in 1964. Hamer helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 to challenge Mississippi's all-white and anti-civil rights delegation to the Democratic National Convention and in 1968 she was a member of the Mississippi delegation. Hamer continued her work throughout her life, including working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign. She died in 1977.
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Here's today's labor history:
On this date in 1902, John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. Steinbeck is best known for writing The Grapes of Wrath, which exposed the mistreatment of migrant farm workers during the Depression and led to some reforms.
In 1937, four hundred fifty Woolworth’s workers and customers occupied a store in Detroit for eight days in support of the Waiters and Waitresses Union.
And on this date in 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that sit-down strikes, a major organizing tool for industrial unions, are illegal.
Today's labor quote is by Fannie Lou Hamer:
“All my life I’ve been sick and tired. Now I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
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