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The SG signature Papers






Records from the American Federation of Labor Letterbooks
(also known as the Letterpress Copybooks of Samuel Gompers)

The original copybooks are at the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, but this guide is keyed to the microfilm edition which is available at the LC and at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of N. Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Reel 177

Pearson to SG, 1-1-14, p. 881, black and white longshoremen in Gulfport, Miss. [NB, reel 178, SG to O’Connor, 1-16-1914, p.179, O'Connor protests his commission as AFL organizer, SG drops him]

Reel 182

SG to Greenwood, 5-20-14, p. 382, on organizing black workmen

Reel 185

Evans to SG, 8-3-14, p. 4, very solicitous letter re: organizing black elevator operators.

Eugene Jones to SG, 8-18-14, p. 546, re black musicians -- he's with National League on Urban Conditions among Negroes

Reel 191

McGillivry to SG, 2-19-15, p. 544, union recognition or better wages for Negro workers

Reel 203

SG to Duffy, 2-24-16, p. 752, re: black organizer in Fla. (SG to Terry, 2-18-16, p. 582, commissioning him.)

Reel 204

SG to Goodes, 2-29-16, p 248, paid black organizer

SG to Hamilton, 3-11-16, p. 663, organizing black workers

Reel 205

Hugh Graham to SG, 3-20-16, p. 137, Negro longshoremen (SG forwards it to O'Connor, p. 136)

Reel 212

SG to Sullivan, 9-15-16, p. 856, organizing back workers (see also, SG to Belcher, 8-30-16, p. 319, organizing black workers in Texas; reel 213, UB reply, p. 254)

Reel 213

Persion to SG, 9-18-16, p. 123, 2 vice presidents of the Hod Carriers union are black

SG to Keep, 9-19-16, p. 144, bringing black labor north

Johnson to SG, 10-7-16, p. 919, black engineers

Reel 214

SG to Organizers, 10-18-16, p. 193, black migration north

Reel 215

SG to Swan, 11-15-16, p. 125, no time for Negro greetings

SG to Bounds, 11-20-16, p. 188, organizing black workers

SG to Scott, 12-1-16,p. 392, blacks in Spencer NC [there are lots of letters like this, e.g. Henderson Ky, 705; Chicago, 706)

Reel 217

SG to Jones, 1-17-17, p. 132, Urban League meeting, re: black migration (see 131 for invitation; reel 218, p. 520, Frayne did not show, more, p. 521)

Reel 218

SG to Salmon, 2-26-17, p. 839, Panama Canal union; campaign to organize blacks in South

Bascomb to SG 2-20-17, p. 848, black waiters want to organize

Reel 222

Zilliop to SG, 5-21-17, p. 92 black migration -- who will pick the cotton? (SG sends it to W.B. Wilson, U.S. Secretary of Labor, p. 93)

SG to Zilliop, reply, p. 95

SG to Keep, 5-25-17, p. 278, refers to military view of labor, conditions in Jacksonville, Florida, and black longshoremen

Moore to SG, 5-28-17, p. 364, black RR maintenance workers (SG's letter, 363; 700)

SG to Sudduth, 6-8-17, p. 776, black migration, union membership

Reel 224

SG to Crawford, N.Y. News Charity Bureau, 7-18-17, p. 101, does not need to defend himself against charge of discrimination against Negroes

Pope to SG, 7-12-17, p. 334, Porters and Boot Blacks Union -- black porters will join, whites will not. [SG sends the letter to Central Trades Council, 7-21-17, p. 333; gets reply, reel 225, p. 364)

Reel 225

SG to Castelli, 8-16-17, p. 305, re: organizing black waiters at a restaurant SG patronizes

Reel 226

SG to Pitch, 10-4-17, p. 981, he should organize a black Central Labor Union

Reel 227

Scott to SG, 10-2-17, p. 96, RR shop trades agreement, Negroes think it includes them (reply follows)

Winston to SG, 10-7-17,p. 423, Brotherhood of RR Train Porters (letter to Lee precedes noting they don't say if they're black or not)

Fitch to SG, 10-12-17,p. 481, printers in Bartlesville refuse to join Central Labor Union because of one racially mixed local (this is in response to SG's letter, 10-4 that follows, asking whether they could organize a black CLU; Fitch's 9-29 letter follows, 483, and printers letter to Fitch, p. 484).

Walton to SG, 10-15-17, p. 528, black oystermen want same terms and consideration as white (SG to Harris, p. 527, inquiry)

[NB, black workers are an issue at AFL convention, 7th day, p.602]

Reel 229

Henry Orr to SG 12-13-17, p. 381, U.S. Government employees, dredge operators, can't get their money, white and black alike

Reel 230

Baker to SG, 12-31-17, p. 114, re: Carpenters complaint that whites being replaced by blacks on Panama Canal – letter to O’Connell on same subject and various official statements follow

Weinberg to SG, 1-7-18, p. 180, he’s black, a painter who employs 3 or 4 men but can’t join union [referred to Skemp, 179; notes referral, 212]

SG to Harris, 1-18-18, p. 530, agrees to meet with editor of New York News to talk about black labor and black unions[544, sends copy to Frayne; Harris’s letter follows, 545; Fraynes' letter, reel 28,1-28-18, 2246, AFL Records].

SG to W.B. Wilson, 1-23-18, p. 822, more on Bureau of Negro Economics [letter to Jackson follows; also sends it on to McAdoo, 1-25-18, reel 91, 833, AFL Records]

Reel 231

SG to Moton, 2-7-18, 252, inviting black spokesmen to Executive Council meeting

Reel 232

Jackson to SG, 3-2-18, p. 345, he represents Bureau of Negro Economics; wants him to relay letters to W.B. Wilson; says he would submit his plans to SG should he get to be director [SG forwards letter, 344; reply 347]

SG to Crawford, 3-6-18, p. 413, he’s too busy to address black meeting but suggests James Duncan

SG to Sener, 3-1-18, p. 521, on black workers

SG to Harris, 3-16-18, p. 863, he hasn’t forgotten about proposed meeting with black workers

Reel 233

SG to Clemmons, 2-28-18, p. 204, advises black organizer to organize as many black unions as possible while he looks into black Central Labor Union (more, SG to Russell, 3-25-18, 203; but NB, 917, his commission is revoked, 4-10-18)

SG to O’Connell 3-25-18, 210, re: black workers committee at recent Executive Council meeting [same to others follows; same to black committee, p. 225; p. 477 conference postponed until 4-22-18

Young to SG, 3-26-18, p. 423, schemes to avoid 8 hour law and hoodwink black workers, mentions that NAACP is composed of and financed by employers

Reel 235

C.D. Norman to SG, 5-4-18, p. 10, Black unionist wants to know if they can add females to union as whites are doing since this would make them stronger.

SG to Shearod, 5-16-18, p. 203, organizing black Federal Labor Union in Waco, Tex.

SG to Gerlack, 5-15-18, 243, organizing black workers in Chattanooga

Reel 236

Chapman to SG, 6-19-18, p. 69 black RR helpers not getting a fair shake [SG to Ball, below, 422, seems to relate to this]

SG to Ball, 7-1-18, p. 422, trouble between black and white workers in stockyards, Ft. Worth Texas, and information on RR shop workers

Henderson to SG, 7-15-18, p. 82, re: black RR employees; wants same increase whites got [SG sends it on Federal RR wage board, 81]

Reel 237

JC Skemp to SG, 7-23-18, following p. 327, re: Painters refuse to charter black local [SG passes it on, 327]

Reel 238

Trobitz to SG, 8-9-18, p. 167, short letter re:machinists helpers taking over jobs that are now held by blacks; union will protest if union worker loses his job because of color; he would join the machinist union except it bars blacks. [166,SG sends it to IAM; more, 854]

Moyer to SG, 8-28-18, p. 578, re: deportation of organizers in Birmingham; also organizing blacks

Reel 239
SG to Atkinson, 12-6-18, p. 25, re: black workers

Reel 241

SG to P.J. Duffy, 4-28-19, p. 649, AFL’s relation to Negroes

Reel 242

SG to Sander, 7-8-19, p. 1007, re: AFL resolution on black workers

Reel 243

Oakes to SG, 6-29-19, p. 8 more black labor unions than any city this size (Jacksonville, Fla.) Boilermakers won’t take them in though. [sent on to Boilermakers, p. 7, 7-11)

SG to Weeks, Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, 7-16-19, p. 289, sending note from Jesse Henderson, Wellsville, Oh, re: black repairmen -- If they can’t join the Brotherhood, can they organize their own union?

SG to Jacobs, et al, 7-17-19, p. 346, black firemen of New Orleans, Texas, and Mexico RR lines want to organize -- sends it to Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, p. 348

SG to J.J. Forrester, 7-19-19, p. 347, re; Forresters’ requesting for a commission for Mr. Strafford to organize black freight handlers in Oklahoma.

Reel 244

SG to Ivey, 9-8-19, p. 546, telegram that Negroes should be allowed membership and representation

Ogle to SG, 9-3-19, p. 628 West Indies; mentions W.E.B. DuBois, AFL policy on black workers [sends it on to Frayne, 627, reply, 629].

Reel 245

Waldron to SG, 9-20-19, p. 142, why he should address National Race Congress

Walter Lowe to SG, 9-20-19, p. 215, black machinists reporting discrimination; notes that locals don’t know anything about AFL new policy [sends it to Johnston, 214; reply to Lowe 217]

SG to Lewis, 10-11-19, p. 754, re: black freight handlers are organized separately until Brotherhood of Railway Carmen is willing to take them in, but still share in benefits secured through U.S. RR Administration

SG to Waldron, 9-23-19, p. 140, why he can’t address the National Race Congress [asks Frey to do it, 139]

Reel 246

SG to Reinsmeyer, 10-23-19, p. 122, what decision did boilermakers make re: black workers? [SG to Payne follows]

SG to Bines, 10-24-19, p. 137, re: Black Central Labor Union

Burt to SG, 10-28-19, p. 612 National Brotherhood of Workers, a black organization, wants to attend December conference. [611, SG tries to find out who they are]

Turner to SG, 10-31-19, p. 660 , Blacksmiths won’t take black helpers into the union

SG to Turner, 11-17-19, p. 822, black helpers, Blacksmiths; reply to above.

R.L. Guard to Burt, 11-18-19, p. 844 more on National Brotherhood of Workers

Blackwell to SG 10-13-19, p. 873 black workers and the steel industry– almost illegible however

Reel 247

SG to Lacey, 12-22-19, p. 979, Black Central Labor Union, Norfolk, wants an organizer

Reel 248

R.L. Guard to Trigg, 1-15-20, p. 520, there are 88 black Federal Labor Unions, with 5,068 members.

Edwoods to SG, 1-23-20, p. 876, State Employment Bureau is attempting to place black workers – having trouble placing skilled men: Unless the unions assist the Negro to become a member of organized labor, he will unfortunately be compelled to doubt the sincerity of the resolutions drawn up in Atlantic City. [passes it on to Frayne, 877]

Fish to SG, 1-24-20, p. 964, black helpers want to strike at same time that IAM does. [SG’s reply, 961, passes it on , 963]

Reel 249

George Murray to SG 2-7-20, p. 355, General Counsel, the Black American Council, says RR can meet the cost increases by eliminating Jim Crow car, a useless and un-American institution. [passes it on, 354; reply 356]

SG to Hays, p. 993. 2-20-20, black printers

Reel 250
RL Hamlett to SG, 2-23-20, p. 427, black RR workers and color line [sends it on, 426; reel 251, 122, more; reel 252, pp. 452, 453, 455 more]

Halliburtan to SG, 3-4-20, p. 833, organizer complaining about white scabs in Tennessee [sends it on, 832; reply, 835]

SG to A Phillip Randolph, 3-16-20, p. 853, his response to Randolph’s questionnaire; also notes that he addressed black workmen in Jacksonville. [994, he makes correction]

SG to Henry Pinkney, 3-17-20, p.907, Boilermakers approve appointment of black organizer for Southern District, Ed. Turner, but SG says no funds available

SG to Shearin, National Bhd of Workers, 3-17-20, p. 949, invites him to Executive Council meeting to discuss organizing black workers [reel 253, 310, meeting to be held 5-10-20]

Ed Turner to SG, 3-16-20, p. 1012, re: black radicals [nb Boilermakers wanted Turner for black organizer, see p.907; Reel 252, p.254 gives Turner’s term as organizer]

Reel 251

Sanders to SG, 3-2-20, p. 146, Hod Carriers in Miami not seated in Central Labor Union or Building Trades Council because of prejudice [Sends it on to Spencer, 145; reply, 147]

Reel 252

SG to Williams, 3-26-20, p. 143 , re: his plan to organize 65 black workers at Sapula, Ok.

Lewis to SG, 3-39-20, p. 486, Re: black freight handlers [485, sends it on; resolution, 487][more, reel 257, pp. 769, 770]

Fitz to SG, 3-30-20, p. 605, Negro strikebreakers in steel strike. [strikebreaking info, 607; sends it to Jewell, 604; notes meeting to be held, 5-3-20; same to others, 609-13]

Reel 253

R.L. Guard to Barbour, 4-13-20, p. 7, SG is at CMIU convention; black workers invited to 5-3 meeting. [310, mtg is scheduled for 5-10-20]

Reel 255

I. Cumming et al to SG, 6-14-20, p.3 [Hod Carriers] Drain Layers 137, Waco, Black local.

SG to Toliver, 7-9-20, p. 238, Resolution 46: Railway Coach cleaners et al calling for black organizer [goes to others]

Reel 256

Moses Smith to Morrison, 8-4-20, p. 400 , black boilermakers helpers, Waycross, Ga., want an agreement

Reel 257

Circular, no date, p. 6, organizing black local unions

SG to Taylor, 8-20-20, p. 40, re: position of Negro in labor movement – almost illegible

SG to Pipkins, 8-30-20, p. 60, black freight handlers

McDaniel to SG, 8-22-20, p. 287, black RR porters

Binns to SG, 9-6-20, p. 455 , black oilers, wipers etc. (sends it to Stationary Firemen)

Wiggins to Morrison, 9-3-20, p. 523 , black RR repairmen, Mobile, notes that last contract says no more black men – whites to replace them [522, sends it on]

SG to Taylor, 9-17-20, p. 610, more on Negroes and AFL

SG to Cameron, 9-20-20, p. 700, black laborers in Ft. Myers, Fla.

Wynne to FM, 8-30-20, p. 707, alien Negroes in Panama Canal region

Reel 258

E.T. Barbour to SG, 9-20-20, p. 222 Negro Trainmen [SG passes it on, 221, and notes that he met with Barbour and found him to be intelligent and level headed; replies to Barbour, 225]

Fitzgerald to SG, 10-5-20, p. 286, notes that black local unions don’t contribute to support of Grand Lodge

Dacus to SG, 9-24-20, p. 356 , Bogalusas timber fight – this from a black man.

Reel 259

Scott to SG, 11-25–20, p. 425 , more on black RR freight handlers. [SG to Bussey precedes, SG to Scott, 474]

Fairchild to SG, 11-24-20,[ no page but follows 861] re: Black Trainmen reapplying to AFL since Brotherhood Railway Trainmen won’t take them in [sends it on to BRT, 861.]

Reel 260

SG to Fairchild, 12-11-20, p. 257, re: black trainmen; brotherhoods won’t accept them but they are guaranteed good conditions through union agreements.

SG to AFL Executive Council, 12-13-20, p. 440 Moscow Int’l intends to stir up yellow and black races

Fairchild to SG, 12-24-20, p. 889, more on black trainmen.[sends it to Lee, 888]

Reel 263

SG to Hartmann, 3-2-21, p. 6 re: Taylor system, interesting for comment on Negroes

SG to Barnett, 3-23-21, p. 864, Associated Negro Press [more information follows]

Reel 264

SG to Claude Barnett, 4-18-21, p. 945, black organizers;

Reel 265

SG to Sharp, 5-18-21, p. 830, labor conditions of Negro

Reel 266

SG to Ryan, 7-7-21, p. 908 black coach cleaners and boilermakers helpers and all white unions. [more, reel 273, pp. 504-505]

SG to Sir and Bro, 7-8-21, 947, re: black freight handlers [more, 899 ]

Reel 267

SG to Duncan, 7-14-21, p. 385, among many other things, notes swing of editorial pendulum and black freight handlers [526 notes that conference w/black freight handlers, 7-18-21

Agreement re: black freight handlers, p. 615, [signed copy of p. 523, ; enclosed in 613]

Circular, 7-19-21, p. 613; complete list of black freight unions follows [more, reel 268, 277, 557, 654] reel 269, call for 9-2-21 meeting in DC]

Reel 268

Ennis to Frank Morrison, 7-14-21, p. 81, black helpers denied strike benefits; black view of AFL behavior. [80 SG to Kline, 7-29-21, was this an unauthorized strike he wants to know; SG to Franklin, 83, and Johnston, 84 ]

SG to Worthy, 7-30-21, p. 206, organizers and systems federations [more, 208]

Reel 269

SG to Ennis 8-20-21, p. 2, re: blacks and boilermakers, why AFL can’t charter black international union.

Davis to SG, 8-13-21, p. 694 very detailed letter about freight handler conditions

Shaw to SG, 9–6-21, p. 849,: black painters in WVa [almost illegible]

Reel 270

Sanders to SG, 9-20-21, p. 472, Tailors, Sheet Metal Workers and Bricklayers won’t let blacks in Charleston, SC [471 Ids Sanders as an organizer; replies, 473][Reel 271, 775 SG to Sanders, sheet metal organizer to help organize blacks; Reel 272, CS Duncan to Dobson, 10-17-21, 390, says Sanders is mistaken, Charleston Bricklayers union controlled by black officers, the majority of the members being black]

SG to Slaughter, 9-28-21, p. 535, re: KKK, he can’t understand why Slaughter defends it.

SG to Newcomb, 9-30-21, p. 681, organizer dismissals and furlough, black freight organizers [more on black freight hand organizer, 733]

Reel 271

Hammet to SG, 10-5-21, p. 60 , re: black and white building trades workers in S.C. – not enough whites to organize.

SG to Hammet, p. 802, 10-21-21, black bricklayers and locals

Griffen to SG, 10-22-21, p. 874 , black firemen and oilmen in St. Louis [sends it to Shamp, 873; SG’s reply, 875]

Reel 272

SG to Sanders, 11-7-21, p. 583, a separate CLU for blacks is OK but not a CLU for unskilled

Reel 273

Thomas Manly to Gentlemen, 11-21-21, p. 118 , “The black stage hands have long desired an organization” [116 SG to Manly, 11-22-21, National Assn. of Black Stage Employees –wants AFL charter; sending his letter to IATSE; 117 sent]

Manley to SG, 11-25-21, p. 415 , More on black stage hands ; notes that IATSE is for white stage hands only. [sends it to IATSE 414]

SG to Chambers, 8-3-21, p. 504, re; black coach cleaners; [see also p.503]

SG to King, 12-3-21, p. 690 black freight handlers

SG to Shurtleff, 12-3-21, p. 698 , black freight handlers.

SG to Worthy, 12-9-21, p. 989 more on freight handlers..

Reel 274

SG to Poole, 12-12-21, p. 88, black car cleaners [information on how to form a federal labor union]

SG to Fischer, 12-12-21, p. 95, L.M . Johnson is trying to organize black barbers in Port Arthur Tex; similar letters follow re: black Tailors

SG to Scribner, 12-16-21, p. 233, number of Negro unions

Ryan to SG, 12-10-21, p. 444, re: black RR workers [see also 378 SG to Boulware, 12-19-21, re: black RR workers; quotes Ryan’s letter describing rules for organizing Negroes; SG to Ryan, 408, notes that he has informed coach cleaner locals of the decision and agrees there is no need for conference; 442 also sends Ryan’s statements to EC; 460 letter to coach cleaners]

Clay to SG, 12-29-21, p. 758 , black car cleaners in Waco [response to 12-21-21 letter passing on Ryan’s rules]

Reel 275

SG to Brown, 1-23-22, p. 794, black tobacco workers at Reynolds

Reel 277

SG to Mackay, 3-11-22, p. 285, re: freight house employees wage differential

493 SG to Shurtleff, 3-6-22, re: organizers furlough and AFL convention resolution re: black RR workers.

Reel 280

R.L. Guard to SG, 6-8-22, p. 749, should a black woman be added to Child Labor Committee?

Reel 281

SG to Gonzalez, 6-29-22, p. 5, postcard going around Cuba saying SG tried to bar black members; Gonzalez letter and card, 229-30][more reel 283, 658]

SG to Boulware, 7-12-22, p. 372, re: Boilmakers bar black helpers from certain jobs (convention resolution).

525 SG to Jones, 7-15-22, p. 372, organizing black freight handlers [more, reel 282, 432; reel 284, 79]

SG to Lane, 7-19-22, p. 541, RR strike and black Federal Labor Unions

Reel 282

SG to Bailey, 8-18-22, p. 655, re: Black Freight Handlers– even though RR Clerks won’t accept black freight handlers, they should support Clerks strike nevertheless [context, 653; 670, apparently went on strike; 958, strike benefits approved]

Reel 283

SG to Jewell, 9-13-22, p 290, re: black workers

SG to Jones, 9-23-22, p. 696, lays out how RR shopmen’s locals deal with black workers [original letter, 290]

Reel 284

Adams to SG, 10-14-22, p. 555 , FLU 17331, black RR shopmen on strike since July 1

Reel 287

SG to Shurtleff, 1-10-23, p. 410, re: special organizing campaign for black workers

SG to Franklin, 1-12-23, p. 521, commission for black organizer in West Virginia sent

Reel 289

SG to Macklin, 4-9-23, p. 906, AFL position on KKK

Reel 290
SG to Emmett Scott 4-21-23, p. 259, requests a copy of his “Negro Migration during WWI”

Reel 292

SG to Bowens, 7-12-23, p. 223 , AFL and black workers

SG to A. Philip Randolph, 7-17-23, pp. 286 - 287, sending a piece on organizing black workers

SG to Fljozdol, 7-31-23, p. 627 Black RR firemen [also goes to Locomotive Firemen and Engineers, 630; Stationary Firemen, 635]

SG to Hickey, 8-9-23, p. 875 Black firemen on Pennsylvania RR – shopmen are still on strike

Reel 294
SG to Weinberg, 11-5-23, p. 691, KKK in Jacksonville

SG to Shealy, 11-8-23, p. 887, why Negroes move north.

Reel 295
SG to Duffy, 11-16-23, p. 188, KKK in Indiana

Reel 296

James to SG, 12-10-23, p. 339, 90 percent of bricklayers and hodcarriers in Tulsa are black

SG to Davidson, 12-14-23, p. 360, Freight Handlers unions in Norfolk

SG to Stecker, 12-15-23, p. 386, re: AFL’s role in educational bill and teachers complaints that bill discriminates against black schools.

Reel 297

SG to Johnson, 2-27-24, p. 87, if southern farmers had treated black workers better they would not have left them shorthanded; immigration restriction necessary to keep America American [more p. 568].

SG to Grace, 3-6-24, p. 359, more on Johnson immigration bill and race issue.

SG to Robertson 3-25-24, p. 804, passing on telegram from Sleeping Car Porters complaining that they have been left out of the legislative loop. [more, 955]

Reel 298

SG to Truax, 4-5-24, p. 188, SG’s view of the “negro problem”; “It is not to be expected that they they have advanced sufficiently to be able to solve their economic problems.”

SG to Baker, 4-17-24, p. 389, quotes organizer Baker’s endorsement of KKK and takes back his organizers commission.

Reel 299

R.L. Guard to J.V. Smith, dir, National Black Coalition Political Assn, 7-1-24, p. 68 ; Morrison can meet with him

Ford to Richie, 7-18-24, p. 271, acknowledging clipping from the Philadelphia Record, 7-2-24, re: NAACP resolution

Reel 301
Owens to SG, 11-26-24, p. 98, re: Black roofers in Chicago; refused a card by the locals. “We do not ask for the locals, or contractors to give us work, for there is planty of work in our own race.” Three large roofs coming up “which belong to my color and I think we should be entitled to do them.” [97, sends it on to the Roofers; 100 stock reply to Owens]

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