Transcripts to the Black Workers in the Labor Movement Oral History Project to go Online

(304) African Americans; UAW organizing, Detroit, Michigan

The Walter P. Reuther Library seeks the interviewees (or heirs thereof) in our “Black Workers in the Labor Movement Oral History Project” in order to make transcripts available to our researchers online. As a resource that has been widely used in the past, we are confident that online access will spur a greater level of research.

While the focus of the oral history project is on African American men in the auto industry, other topics include issues of race within the garment industry, among Pullman workers and within the UAW. Other topics include the 1943 Detroit race riots, racial discrimination in housing and in day-to-day life.

Comprised of the below-listed 31 oral history transcripts of interviews conducted between 1967 and 1970 by Herbert Hill, Jim Keeney, Roberta McBride and Norman McRae, we are currently seeking to locate the interviewees -- or heirs thereof -- listed in bold with the hope of obtaining releases, as we prefer to secure releases before moving forward:

Frances Albrier
Robert “Buddy” Battle
Mamie Geraldine Bledsoe
Joseph and Rose Billups
Mamie Geraldine Bledsoe
Joseph Coles
George Crockett, Jr.
Father Malcolm Dade
Nick DiGaetano
Edward Doty
Snow Grigsby
Ray Hatcher
Reverend Charles Hill
Dorothy Jones
William Lattimore
Jack Lever
David Livingston
Eleanor Macki
Frank Marquart
Hodges Mason
Arthur McPhaul
James Neeley
Arthur Osman
Jack Raskin
Zeline Richard
George Robertson
Horace Sheffield
C. LeBron Simmons
Birney Smith
Shelton Tappes
Beulah Whitby

Before making these oral histories available, we are posting this public notice in an effort to locate those interviewees – or their heirs – for whom we do not have releases. With that in mind, if you are one of the interviewees listed or are an heir, please contact us to sign a release giving us permission to share the transcript to the oral history in question online. Alternatively, we can place access and use restrictions on the oral history in question or remove the oral history from access and/or use entirely, should the interviewee or heir desire us to take that step. If you possess relevant contact information for interviewees, please share that with us as well.

If we do not hear from interviewees or their heirs within 30 days (i.e., September 16), we will make them available online as described above. Given the historical value of these oral histories, we are hopeful that any interviewee – or her/his heir – will welcome the opportunity to pave the way for further exposure to a historical resource that could spur research leading to a variety of projects, including documentaries, books, articles, exhibits, student papers and so much more.

Should you be an interviewee, heir or have contact information for such an individual, please contact field archivist Louis Jones at or 313.577.0263.

Note: This collection was previously known as "Blacks in the Labor Movement." The collection title was updated in November 2020 but the content remains unchanged.