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Moe FonerMoe Foner
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Session:         Page of 592

boards of trustees were very, very powerful people, and you found out that there would be no way you could possibly win because the law was totally against you. They didn't have to do anything, and they weren't breaking any law. One day I went to Davis and I said, “Dave, something is bothering me.”

He said, “What's the matter?”

I said, “We can't win this way.”

“What do you mean?”

“Assume we can get the workers. Even if we have the workers, we could never win in a one-to-one fight with the management. They don't even have to deal with us. They are so powerful. They own all the politicians, they own all the wealthy and they know everybody. We're nothing here. They have access to the press, to the media. This has got to be a cause. This can't just be a fight to organize. This has got to be something. We've got to get our anger, to get people in the city as angry as we are. The people ought to know that what we found out that this terrible thing happens.”

He said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “We've got to get to the newspapers.”

He said, “Good. Do it.” So I didn't know what to do, and I think I told you once, when I was in the Department Store Union, I used to get diarrhea if I had to call The New York Times to give them the result of an election. To talk to a New York Times reporter, to me, was, you know, it was like people up on a pedestal someplace. I didn't know enough. What will they ask me? What do you say? How do you say it?

So I didn't know what to do. So first we said, okay, the best thing to do was, we'll go to the Amsterdam News and to El Diario, and I would call up a reporter, and finally ended up after a while, talking to the editor, and I was doing the “grab by the collar,” not grab, but I was just telling him, “You know this story of these people? They make twenty-six dollars a week. They've got kids.”

[SIDE THREE]

Foner:

to them, I'm sure they hadn't thought of it in terms of the union. They knew that there were many people, thousands of people in Harlem who didn't have jobs and who were oppressed, but they felt that yeah, maybe it's a good story. So I'd say, “I'll bring you some workers. You'll interview them.”



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