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Elmer Hamilton oral history interview, July 13, 2006

 Item — othertype: Oral History
Identifier: HamiltonE_L2006-14

Scope and Contents

Interviewed by Norman Slawsky: Hamilton briefly discusses his early life through high school graduation. He describes both the discrimination and achievements of his time in the Navy, particularly his engineering and refrigeration training. He speaks of his time in Brooklyn, where he worked for the New York City Transit Authority for nine years (1960-1969) and briefly discusses his involvement with Democratic Party Politics in New York. Hamilton talks about his move to Atlanta in 1974 and how going to work for MARTA led to his involvement with the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 732 (Atlanta, GA), as a bus operator steward. His work as a bus operator steward led him to run for president of ATU Local 732 and he discusses several failed attempts to obtain the office before finally winning. His winning bid for president came after running on the platform that ATU members deserved a pension, and after being elected, he went on to hire an outside administrator of the pension which was considered a controversial move at the time. People, unions, and organizations represented: Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 732 (Atlanta, GA); J. C. Reynolds, former ATU president; Benita West, ATU officer and president; MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid transit Authority)


  • Creation: July 13, 2006


Restrictions on Access

Oral history available for research.

Biographical Note

Elmer Hamilton was born in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and moved to Savannah, Georgia, to live with his aunt in 1950 when he was 13. He graduated from Beech Hish School in 1955 and joined the Navy shortly thereafter. After an honorable discharge from the Navy as a Petty Officer Second Class, he lived and worked in Brooklyn. In 1974 he moved to Atlanta and in 1979 began working for MARTA, first as a bus driver and later as a train operator. Early in his career with MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid transit Authority), Hamilton joined the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 732 (Atlanta, GA) and was eventually elected as the president of ATU Local 732.


2 Item(s) (transcript (50 pages) audio (2:02:55 duration))

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English