Blue Jenkins : Working for Workers

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-10-26
  • Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society
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Growing up during the Depression in Racine, Wisconsin, Blue Jenkins was an eye-witness to the migration of former farm laborers from the South seeking jobs in northern manufacturing. As an African-America in the pre-civil rights era, Jenkins also came face to face with racism, as when the Ku Klux Klan hung a black figure in effigy from a tree in the Jenkins family#x19;s yard. The injustices that confronted Blue in his young life would drive his need to make positive changes to his community and workplace in adulthood. Following a stint as a player in the semi-pro #x1C;Negro League#x1D; baseball, Blue became involved in unions through his work at Belle City Foundry. As WWII raged on, he participated in the home-front battle against discrimination in work, housing, and economic opportunity. When Blue became president of the union at Belle City Foundry, he organized blood drives and fought for safety regulations. He also helped to integrate labor union offices. Outside of work, he organized a boycott of Woolworths and Kresge stores to protest #x1C;anti-Negro#x1D; hiring policies. In 1962, he became president of the central labor branch of the Racine AFL-CIO, and remained an active part of the union until his retirement. An addition to the Badger Biographies series, Blue Jenkins: Working for Workersshares Blue#x19;s story as it acquaints young readers with labor and African American history.

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