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port of the repeal of 14-B. This bond of understanding is invaluable during organizing drives as well as during election campaigns.” A most revealing insight into the tone of the convention can be glimpsed from the final paragraph of this executive board report: “As leaders, we realize that the program of the Texas AFL-CIO is considerably in advance of the rank and file membership. Leaders are not worthy if they are not leading. The job of leading requires . . . being able to overcome slovenly, defeatist, and sell-out attitudes, and the ignorance and fear of prejudice. . . . Each delegate, in realizing that the Texas AFL-CIO is in advance of the consensus, should also realize that we are years behind where we should be in doing a job for the workers of this state.” In this spirit, the convention’s LatinAmerican affairs committee took a swipe at international unions who have not followed up on “Operation Bootstrap,” Texas labor’s $50,000 pre-organizing drive in South Texas designed to set a climate for organizing campaigns. The committee reported it was “still proud” of seven internationals, the meatcutters, machinists, electricians, hod carriers, rubber workers, packinghouse workers, and teamsters, who gained bargaining rights, largely in South Texas, for 2,500 workers. Texas labor is now planning to extend a similar program into heavily Negro-populated areas of East Texas. Clarence Laws, Southwest regional director of the NAACP, was tuned in on the convention’s subliminal theme in his address to the delegates, warning of attempts to “confuse, divide, and weaken, if not destroy the labor Movement.” In a gently prodding speech, Laws praised the city of El Paso for “leading Texas and the South” in passing a municipal anti-discrimination ordinance, but charged that the present rate of school desegregation in Texas will require 157 years to achieve full integration. He said figures from the spring semester showed 65,000 more Negroes in segregated schools in Texas than when the Supreme Court decision was handed down in 1954. “This is because while the number of Negro children in public schools in the state has increased more than 90,000 in the past eleven years, there were less than 25,000 Negroes in integrated Texas classes this last term.” Although from 50 to 75. Texas schools will be integrated this fall, he said, cities like Dallas and Houston are still far behind; fewer than .300 Negro children are in integrated schools in Dallas, and this represents less than one per cent. Despite the slow pace of school integration, “nowhere is discrimination more painfully exercised,” Laws quietly told the labor delegates, “than in employment opportunities.” He let this subject go at that. B Y THE THIRD DAY, one could extract from the accumulated verbiage of 50 speeches and a dozen committee reports three recurring and interrelated themes: the accelerating quest for civil rights for ethnic minorities, the question of organized labor’s response to this move Brown on Two Parties In his wide-range talk to labor delegates, state AFL-CIO President Hank Brown recalled the Texas gubernatorial race of 1962 in an interesting manner. “Remember,” he told the labor delegates, “it was the state Democratic convention of 1962 that wrote John Connally’s ‘retention of our right-towork’ law into the party platform. He was then the Democratic Party nominee and asked for our help to defeat Jack Cox [the Republican nominee for governor]. . . . Because we lacked courage and foresight, we failed in our responsibility. We should have, now that our hindsight is working 20-20, fought John Connally in the general election as hard as we did in that year’s primary. There’s a lesson to learn. It makes no difference to a hungry child or a jobless man or a mother widowed by industrial butchery whether the governor of Texas is a Democrat or a Republican or a member of the Wednesday morning bridge club. And I don’t think it makes any difference to us.” E ment, and the feeling that both were inevitably linked with bringing unorganized millions into the ranks of labor. Though the convention produced no visible proof that immediate solutions had been achieved on this triple front, an event occurred at 3:15 p.m. on the third day which seemed to bring the three tributaries a bit closer to their confluence: Brownbrandishing a bull horn and a Spanish-language sign headed by the word “Organisese!”led the delegation of labor into the streets of El Paso. The protest march of half a mile to the central plaza in downtown El Paso was specifically aimed at the “intolerable working conditions fostered” in this border city by the guild of employers known as the El Paso employers association. El Paso, a city with a burgeoning open-shop garment industry employing some 15,000 to 20,000 persons, almost all of Mexican extraction, also has meat packing, refining, and smelting industries. The marchers, carrying a forest of signs in Spanish and English, trekked through stifling August heat, their line of four and five abreast stretching about four blocks long. Zonarich, the national IUD organizing chief, led off the speakers in the plaza with a denunciation of the employers council as a “scab-hatchery . . . that is responsible for people being ill-fed, ill-clothed, and illsheltered.” Brown followed Zonarich: “Just as Brownsville marked the beginning last year of the drive to change South Texas, so today you have taken a Step toward showing all Texans the size of the job remaining before us. . . . To those who say we are Communist-inspired, I say be damned! There are no free trade unions in Cuba or Russia, just like there were none in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. The sweet guarantee of freedom is decent wages and working conditions. . . . Let today be a message that Texas labor is not too fat to walk in the sunshine . . . that we gave one hour of our life to protest the conditions of life for all our brothers, on both sides of the Rio Grande .. . so that together with our brothers of CTM \(the build a free land of free men.” The affair came to an end with a short speech by Harry Burk, president of the AFL-CIO’s largest area council, in Harris County: “Today, along with all of us, I took my tie off and put it in my pocket, and marched through the_sun as a symbol that I remember where I came from. Why are we here? We are here because three million Texans must eat, sleep, and clothe their families on incomes of less than $200 a month . . . because children are hungry and sick, play with stick dolls on a dirt floorif they do not die in infancy. We are here because we cannot any longer live with these things. We are here in El Paso in the streetbecause it is no longer necessary in this, the richest and fattest country on the face of the globe, for a single child to be hungry, for even one woman to die of neglect, for one man to know economic despair. Texas labor here and now declares that every working man and woman in this state is a brother and a sister.” While the words of the speakers showed the direction toward which labor’s leadership is straining, the varied emotions of the delegates revealed contradictory tensions. Among half the delegates, largely, one gathers, members of the building trades which have grumbled the most over the state administration’s penchant for spending money on political alliances with minorities, did not march. Yet there seemed to be a curious elan, almost joy, among those who did participate. The march was more like the March on Washington than the grim, silent night marches of the Deep South. There was the awareness, as in Washington, that no one was going to be arrested, as the paraders had a permit. Some old CIO veterans, unaware of the permit, strove to be near the front of the line so they could go to jail. Some of the delegates’ teen-age children, who have been active in the civil rights movement, were disappointed at what one called “the lack of confrontation of authority,” and Laws, replied, when first told of the demonstration, “Good, is anyone going to be arrested?” One rather rotund delegate was heard to say as she puffed into the plaza, perspiration pouring from her face: “I feel better than I have in twenty years. We ought to be doing this more often.” Standing in the broiling sun of this West Texas plaza and hearing Southern labor leaders like Brown and Burk confront American labor’s nemesis of race, while at the same time trying to evaluate the importance of the acts of those who were not present as well,as those who were, one concludes that perhaps the men of labor, themselves, wrote the fitting summary of their transitioning movement in that final paragraph of the executive board report. August 20, 1965 9