Category Archives: AFSCME

I Am A Man: Photographer Richard Copley Recalls His First Assignment, 50 Years After the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike



AFSCME archivist Stefanie Caloia shares photographer Richard Copley’s story of his very first and what he considers his most important assignment covering the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and, ultimately, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and memorial march.

Related Collections

AFSCME Local 1733 Records

AFSCME Office of the President: Jerry Wurf Records

1968 Sanitation Workers Strike Image Gallery

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Dan Golodner

Interviewee: Stefanie Caloia, excerpts from Richard Copley

Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


Jessica Levy on “Black Power, Inc.: Global American Business and the Post-Apartheid City”



Jessica Levy explains how American corporations and black entrepreneurs worked together to forge a new politics linking American business with black liberation at home and abroad, focusing particularly on Leon Howard Sullivan, a civil rights leader and board member of General Motors who used his position to influence American corporate anti-apartheid actions.

Levy is a PhD Candidate at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Continue reading Jessica Levy on “Black Power, Inc.: Global American Business and the Post-Apartheid City”


American Labor’s Anti-Apartheid Movement and Nelson Mandela’s 1990 U.S. Tour



Meghan Courtney, Reuther Library archivist, discusses Nelson Mandela’s 1990 visit to the U.S. as well as his long-term relationship with the American Labor Movement during his time in prison and after his release.

Mandela’s 12 day, 8 city fundraising tour in June 1990 took place just months after his release from 27 years in a South African prison and included visits to the AFL-CIO, AFSCME’s convention, UAW Local 600 and Tiger Stadium. Courtney explores Mandela’s philosophical alignment with the labor movement, labor’s support for anti-apartheid efforts in the U.S., and archival collections at the Reuther Library where researchers might find evidence of Mandela’s friendships and partnerships.
Continue reading American Labor’s Anti-Apartheid Movement and Nelson Mandela’s 1990 U.S. Tour


Julia Gunn on Civil Rights Anti-Unionism: Charlotte and the Remaking of Anti-Labor Politics in the Modern South



Dr. Julia Gunn explains how progressive civil rights politics enabled Charlotte, North Carolina, to become the nation’s second-largest largest financial capital while obscuring its intransigence towards working-class protest, including public sector sanitation workers, bus drivers, firefighters, and domestic workers. Gunn is a Critical Writing Fellow in History at the University of Pennsylvania. Continue reading Julia Gunn on Civil Rights Anti-Unionism: Charlotte and the Remaking of Anti-Labor Politics in the Modern South