United Automobile Workers of America, District 65 Photographs

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Date Range: 19381969
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-05-20
Creator: United Automobile Workers of America, District 65

History: District Council 65 of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) began as a group of Jewish laborers working in dry goods warehouses in the Lower East Side of New York City. The union became a local of the Wholesale Dry Goods Employees Union in 1935 before affiliating with the Distributive Trades Council of New York and the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Its affiliation with the UAW began in 1979. In later years, the union’s membership grew beyond the warehouse and retail workers to include white-collar workers in publishing and universities. The union remained active until bankruptcy forced the union to close in 1994.

From its earliest days, District 65 was closely associated with left and liberal politics, and it took an active role in a range of activist endeavors. Its many contributions include early participation in the civil rights movement, opposition to the Vietnam War, and instituting the active involvement of members. Engagement with groups and issues related to Asians and Asian Americans were an extension of its commitments to political justice and inter-cultural understanding.

Source: The Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. “Guide to the United Automobile Workers of America, District 65 Photographs, Part I: Negatives (PHOTOS 023).” Last accessed May 20, 2011.http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/photos_023_001/.

Summary: Consisting of nearly 30,000 photographs taken by members of District 65’s Camera Club, the UAW District 65 Photographs span the period between the late 1930s and the early 1960s. Photographs document the day-to-day functioning of the union, member activities, and participation in political causes. In addition, reflecting the strong commitment to left and liberal politics, prominent celebrities and politicians are represented such as Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Wagner, Paul Robeson, and Harry Belafonte.

The collection materials are organized within three series: I) Negatives; II) Interpositives; and III) Duplicates. Series I itself consists of several subseries: A) Demonstrations, Rallies, Parades, Strikes; B) Individuals; C) Locals outside of New York City D) Meetings and Events; E) Members at Home; F) Members at Work; G) Political Activities; H) Publicity; I) Social, Cultural, Recreational and Educational Activities; and J) World War II.

Of special relevance are a number of negatives containing photographs covering key organizations and campaigns related to the rights and interests of Asian Americans and Asians. The subjects include the Japanese American Committee for Democracy (Negatives 2265, 2266); ‘Chinese War Relief’ (Negative 1175); peace meeting about the Korean War (Negative 8226-8228); Japanese demonstrations in support of the wartime “Lend-Lease Bill” (Negative 790); Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors (Negatives18208, 23265-23272) visiting Japanese trade unions (Negatives 19184, 17276); and visiting Indonesian trade unionists (Negative 15297).

Total Size: 32.0 linear ft
APA-related Size: 0.05
Languages of materials: English
Arrangement: other
Location: Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University
Bibliographic Control: finding aid
Finding Aid Link: http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/photos_023_001/
Conditions Governing Access: Contact repository for detailed information on conditions governing access.

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