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Jim Crow Union Forced to Change

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Jim Crow Union Forced to Change

New York Archives article written by Brian Purnell

More Black history of the IATSE.Jim Crow Union Forced to Change”In existence since 1886, IA Stagehands Local 1 granted an all-Black auxiliary branch a charter in 1937 after Black workers in Harlem organized independently as a means of stopping white outsiders from hoarding all the theater jobs.

“It wasn’t until almost 20 years later, in 1955, that the all-Black members of auxiliary Local 1A were admitted into Local 1. A year earlier members of 1A filed a complaint with the NY State Commission Against Discrimination (SCAD) and sought to merge. Although the IA was reluctant and testified that “[our] members told us they didn’t want to work up there [in Harlem] because they were afraid. It was then that we formed their [auxiliary] group. We’ve been nice to them” SCAD informed the IATSE that niceness had nothing to do with the way Local 1 was “perpetuating a situation that is contrary to the law of this state.”

Read the full Article Here

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