Strikers battle police, February 1937. Photo courtesy The Flint Journal
The sit-down strike
of 1936-1937 in Flint, Michigan, lasted only 44 days, but its
impact would alter the course of the industrial labor movement
forever. It was a confrontation between a young and untested
workers' union, the United Automobile Workers, and the largest
manufacturer in the world, General Motors Corporation. The outcome
of this strike affirmed the right of labor to collective bargaining
and recognized the importance of human dignity to all workers.
In 1998 Mott Community College organized the oral
history and portrait project which culminated in an exhibition
entitled "Witnesses and Warriors," with 35 portraits (9 sculptures
and 27 paintings, prints, and drawings) by 32 Flint-area artists
commemorating participants in the strikes. In accompanying text
block, each sit-downer recounts a part of the story of this pivotal
event in labor and Michigan history.
Along with audiotape interview of Robert Keith, one
of the strikers, with an accompanying transcript of the interview,
the project also includes a short history of the strike, historic
photographs of the strike and contemporary portraits of the
strikers, and the exhibition catalog entitled: "The Flint Sit-Down
Strike of 1936-1937: Witnesses and Warriors."
Originally submitted by: Dale E. Kildee, Representative (9th District).
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