When Wisconsin Steel closed without paying workers in Chicago, Frank Lumpkin organized the Save Our Jobs Committee. They fought 17 years and won settlements totaling $19 million. Son of Georgia cotton sharecroppers, Frank Lumpkin became a professional boxer, orange picker, construction worker, merchant seaman, steelworker and leader of the Communist Party USA. Professor Emeritus of labor history, Betty Balanoff, says “I recommend the book for college classes in labor studies, African American history, American history, sociology and family history
This is the story of Frank Lumpkin, son of sharecroppers who moved from Georgia to the orange groves of Florida. A closely-knit African American family of grandparents, parents and ten children, most became activists for civil rights and labor rights.
Lumpkin became a professional boxer, construction worker, merchant seaman, steel worker and a leader of the Communist Party USA. When Chicago's Wisconsin Steel closed suddenly without paying the workers, Lumpkin led a 17-year fight for justice and they won! The victories the workers won, of $19 million in two settlements, have inspired other workers to persevere and win justice.
The author, Beatrice Lumpkin, is Frank Lumpkin's wife. She was chairperson of the Wisconsin Steel Workers Women's Committee. In that position she did extensive interviews with steel workers and their spouses, interviews that enliven the book. Sixty-seven photographs bring labor history and civil rights history to life.
I'm as interested in the struggle as in winning the money. I'm interested in workers learning their strength, not somebody being a "smart Alec."The fight isn't just for money. It's for justice for working people.