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Fred and Roger Halstead oral history interview, July 26, 1995

Identifier: HalsteadFandR_1995-12_09

Scope and Contents

Interviewed by Christine Lutz: Fred Halstead talks about growing up in a small New York town, his family, and working in silk and wool mills. Halstead moved south to work as a union organizer in the 1950s. In his words, doing so was “the toughest work I ever saw.” He discusses southern resistance to unionization - including wildcat strikes at Avondale mills in Alabama. He provides a detailed explanation of the organizing process: education, leaflets, and other aspects of organizing drives, plus the dangers of unionization for workers and their families, and views on the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Unions (AFL-CIO). Halstead also discusses civil rights within the union. Of the incidents which stand out in his mind, Halstead says, “I’ll never forget Daddy King making a speech hanging off the back of my chair, speaking right over my head -- that’s touching.” He also includes personal views on Lester Maddox. Halstead speaks about dating experiences during the 1930s and his Army service at the Utah Beach Invasion during WWII. He gives detailed descriptions of strikes and organizing drives in Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The interview includes the input of F. Roger Halstead (born 1953) and the involvement of both father and son in organizing many southern companies. Union Represented: Textile Workers Union of America (now UNITE); CIO


  • July 26, 1995


Restrictions on Access

Available in Reading Room and online

Biographical Note

Fred Halstead, Sr. was born May 19, 1913 in Volney, New York. He graduated from high school in Fulton, New York around 1932. He served in the United States Army during World War II and was at the invasion of Utah Beach. After returning stateside he became active in the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and Textile Workers’ Union of America (TWUA). Halstead served as President of his TWUA Local from 1947 to 1950, Director of the South Georgia TWUA from 1952 to 1953, and Manager of the Joint Board of TWUA in Los Angeles in 1967. He also served on the General Executive Board of the International Leather Goods, Plastics & Novelty Workers’ Union (Leather Workers) starting in 1970. During this time he and F. Roger Halstead concentrated their efforts on labor organizing throughout the Southeast.


2 Item(s) (transcript (67 pages) (2:12:37 duration))

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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