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They went to the State Capitol in Albany. I remember Margot
was working on that. Through a friend we arranged the exhibition by
students on working would go up to the Capitol and would be big blow-
ups. These were blow-ups -- oh, no. Excuse me. Let me get it right.
Ossie Davis had come to a program at the union, in the union
headquarters, to speak about Langston Hughes. We were then
spending a month on Langston Hughes for Black History Month. Ossie
came and we invited students from all levels.
You had approximately a thousand students in two sessions.
We had a thousand students there sitting on the floor, asking
questions, reading Langston Hughes' poetry when he asked them who
knows a Langston Hughes poem, and we then put out a booklet with
the photographs of the kids who were there, and their quotes of letters
they had sent to Ossie about what it meant to them. “Please come to
our school.” We put that together and got it around. It was seen
upstate through a friend. The blow-ups of those kids' faces and their
letters were part of the exhibition. The State Commissioner of
Education came and spoke with the media there, invited the kids up to
be there, be photographed and interviewed.
Now, if someone said to you, “This is a union program. What is it
doing involving kids who are far removed from the union?” what would
What we found out early on is that in 1199 in New York City,
most of our members' kids are in these schools.
In the public schools, in high schools, and very often they don't
even know that their parents are members of the union. When they
come to the gallery and they discuss something about labor and they
suddenly say, “Oh, my mother, she must be in 1199. She does this in
the hospital.” So they're really talking to the sons and daughters of our
members, and anything that can make that closer and tighter is a
benefit to the family and to the union. It's a unifying factor that Bread
and Roses is able to accomplish because of the way it does it.
And even if they're not children of 1199 members, their parents
may be members of other unions, and they're going to grow up and
work in jobs where they have a choice about perhaps whether or not
to be active in a union.
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