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Session #24
Interviewee: Moe Foner
Interviewer: Dan North
Place: New York, New York
Date: March 9, 2001

Q:

This is Dan North interviewing Moe Foner on March 9, 2001, tape number four.

Today let's take kind of an impressionistic look back over fifty, sixty years in the labor movement. I wonder if you could talk about highlights, things that you remember, incidents, people, impressions, things that you're proud of, recollections that just come to your mind at this moment.

Foner:

Well, one of the things that always stood out in my mind was meeting a hospital worker at her home in 1959, and she worked at Knickerbocker Hospital. I had asked if I could--

Q:

Knickerbocker in Upper Manhattan?

Foner:

In Harlem. She lived in Harlem, and I'd asked if I could come to interview her at home. The first time she said no, and the second time she said, “Okay, you can come on this night.” I prepared to meet with her. Now, prior to that, I and my friends and everybody I knew were anti-racist, but had never really been in direct contact with real workers, and this was one such realistic moment.

I came to meet with her, and the place was not exactly a penthouse. The walls were--the paint was peeling, the furniture was sort of shabby. She had obviously cleaned as best she could, and the kids were there. Their clothes were not very great, and she was dressed in simple clothing. I asked her about herself, and she began to tell me that she made $26 a week, that she was on supplementary welfare, but she was interested in the union and hoped that the union could bring better days for her and her family, and that was why she was walking the picket line outside of Knickerbocker Hospital. We weren't on strike; it was a demonstration.



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