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Advancing Workers’ Rights in the American South

a white man approaches. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he marches with employees of Scripto Inc. on a picket line wearing signs
Dr. Martin Luther King joins the picket line in support of the workers at the Scripto writing pen factory in Atlanta, 1964. Union and Freedom documentary film. AFL-CIO, Civil Rights Department Records, 1936-2000.

A collaboration between Georgia State University (GSU) and the University of Maryland (UMD), “Advancing Workers’ Rights in the American South: Digitizing the Records of the AFL-CIO’s Civil Rights Division” makes accessible a robust array of texts, photographs and films that provides insight into the historical intersection of civil rights and labor movements nationally and in the South. The records include speeches, correspondence, protest flyers, newsletters, telegrams, radio program transcripts, case files, clippings, candid photographs, documentary films, and more chronicling AFL-CIO civil rights work between 1943 and 1999. Explore the links below to discover Advancing Workers Rights in the American South materials across UMD and GSU’s digital repositories.

Digitization for this project was supported by a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from the Mellon Foundation.

White protesters hold anti-segregation signs at Glenn Echo Park circa 1960

Digitized Materials

Browse and search across UMD’s collection of digitized materials  texts and photographs from the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Division.

Still from the film “Desegregation without turmoil” in UMD’s Audiovisual Collections repository.

Labor Films

Discover digitized audiovisual materials on labor unions and civil rights history.

Panel from the “Fighting for Freedom” exhibition.

Fighting for Freedom

Explore this digital exhibition featuring AFL-CIO Civil Rights Division records from the collections of GSU and UMD.

Photograph of an individual instructing at AFL-CIO headquarters, photograph by Mel Chamowitz.

Learn More

Find out more about UMD’s Labor and Social Justice collections 

Crowd of protesters from the 1963 March on Washington with the Washington Monument in the background

Additional Resources Online

Visit the Civil Rights Digital Library for resources on the civil rights movement from more than 100 institutions, including GSU and UMD.

Images on this page:

  • Card 1: A. Philip Randolph leads a picket line protesting discrimination at Glen Echo Park, Maryland, 1960.
  • Card 2: Screen capture image of protestors rallying on the Mall in Washington, DC, for the AFL-CIO’s “Solidarity Day,” 1981.
  • Card 3: Exhibition logo for the online, “Fighting for Freedom” exhibition, created by Southern Labor Archives program at Georgia State University, 2024.
  • Card 5: Photograph Image of a Civil Rights Department seminar at the AFL-CIO building, photographed by Mel Chamowitz, 1970s.

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