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Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.

1899VA-State-Hampton_Proceedings (25).pdf

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"We re-affirm as one of the cardinal principles of the Trade Union Movement that the working people must unite and organize irrespective of creed, color, sex, nationality, or politics."

Mr. J. S. Hayes, Secretary of the Knights of Labor, received us with equal cordiality. He wrote us a most encouraging letter, saying that it has always, even from the foundation of the order been one of its cardinal principles that there should be no color line in the Knights of Labor. He cites the action of the great Convention in Richmond in 1886, in sustaining this point. He says there are many colored members in the order, most of them are good union men.

Your committee also interviewed many of the local labor leaders of Washington. They received us with uniform kindness and frankness. With only two exceptions, they all expressed themselves as being personally favorable to the admission of competent colored men into the unions. But some of them frankly admitted that the rank and file held the race prejudice common to this section, and would not vote to admit colored men.


Your committee sent out about thirty letters to the leaders of the various national organizations affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, inquiring, among other things, of their organizations excluded colored craftsmen on account of race. Among those replying that their organizations do not exclude colored workmen are the Boiler-makers, Blacksmiths, Carriage-makers, Cigar-makers, Custom Tailors, American Federation of Musicians, Tobacco Workers, Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators, United Mine Workers, Iron Moulders, The Amalgamated Society of Steam Engineers, Leather Workers on Horse Goods, International Union of Steam Engineers, International Longshoremen's Association, United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

Letters were also sent to the national secretaries of the following, who have not replied:—Brickmakers, Journeymen Barbers, Bookbinders, and The Amalgamated Society of Carpenters, Stationary Firemen, Garment Workers, Horseshoers, Iron and Steel Workers, Potters' National, Pressmen's Union.


It is a matter of common report that all the organizations of railway employees, exclude colored men. Mr. P. M. Arthur, Grand Chief, testified before the Industrial Commission that the Order of Locomotive Engineers did exclude them, by a provision in their constitution.

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