Today in Labor History: Weekend Edition
April 10—Birth date of Frances Perkins, named secretary of labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, becoming the first woman to hold a cabinet-level office – 1880
April 11—Jackie Robinson, first black ballplayer hired by a major league team, plays his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbetts Field – 1947
April 12—Birth of Florence Reece, active in Harlan County, Ky., coal strikes and author of famed labor song “Which Side Are You On?” – 1900
(Which Side Are You On? The Story of a Song: This wonderful childrens’ book tells the story of a song written in 1931 that has become an anthem for people fighting for their rights all over the world. Florence Reece’s husband Sam, a coal miner in Kentucky, was helping organize a union when all hell broke loose. The company and its hired thugs started attacking miners and their homes, including Reece’s. While bullets flew around her and the couple’s seven children and they took cover under their bed, Florence took out her pencil and started writing—and the song was born.)
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Labor Video: Cesar Chavez
Trailer for the movie “Cesar Chavez,” starring Michael Peña—a biopic chronicling the farmworker organizer’s triumphant journey. The film is a testament to the power of workers standing together, against overwhelming odds, to improve their lives. Click here to watch the video.