Labor and the Little Rock Nine

The first two minutes of this 1955 newsreel covers the merger of the AFL and the CIO which resulted in a new union that would represent 35 percent of all nonagricultural workers. The 1950s became a time of increased freedom and rights for workers. Trade unions in the 1950s and 1960s were able to use their political power to earn increases in the minimum wage, which actually mostly benefited nonunion workers. “Social contracts” were negotiated between workers and employers that left many decisions in the hands of employers in exchange for stopping union-busting, wage increases, pension plans, health insurance, etc.

This video covers President Eisenhower’s decision to send federal troops to escort black students into Little Rock Central High School after Governor Orval Faubus used the National Guard to prevent integration in 1957. The Civil Rights movement, while starting with just desegregation of schools, soon produced civil rights for all African Americans.

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