In the midst of the great organizing drive of the CIO, which was to culminate in the solid establishment of industrial unionism in the United States, John L. Lewis came to Detroit to address a mass meeting. Some ten thousand people crowded into Olympia Stadium to hear him promise them that they were not alone in their battle to build the United Auto Workers against the thugs and spies of the auto corporations.
A quarter of a century has passed since I sat among that throng of workers and their wives and watched them weeping unashamedly as Lewis exhorted them to stand fast against the corporations and to stand together for a better life. When I returned to Detroit recently with the aim of finding out what has happened to the powerful union built by those workers in the thirties and forties, I found first of all that it is impossible in the sixties to make the kind of generalization that used to come so easily. Even the memories of the participants can be faulty: An officer of ...
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