Mississippi State AFL-CIO records
Scope and Content of the Collection
The collection consists of the records of the Mississippi AFL-CIO and its predecessor, the Mississippi State Federation of Labor from 1947-1986. The collection includes President Claude Ramsay's correspondence (1959-1986); files relating to affiliated unions (1957-1983); records relating to the Congress of Industrial Organization and the AFL-CIO (1952-1985); material relating to Ramsay's interest in and involvement with local, state, and national government agencies (1960-1983); and subject files relating to a myriad of topics from national politics to local unions. The collection also contains a substantial collection of photographs relating to labor union activity.
- Creation: 1947-1986
- Mississippi AFL-CIO (Organization)
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research use.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.
Historical and Biographical Notes
The Mississippi State Federation of Labor was organized in 1918 and held its annual conventions until 1957, when it became known as the Mississippi AFL-CIO. The Mississippi AFL-CIO held annual meetings until it switched to biennial conventions in 1962.
Biography of Mississippi AFL-CIO President Claude Ramsay
- Claude Ramsay was born in 1916 in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where he grew up. He graduated from Van Cleave High School, and attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College in Perkington. Ramsay's labor involvement began in 1939 when he helped organize the first local union of paperworkers employed at the International Paper Company in Moss Point, Mississippi. He served in the military during World War II and returned to his old job at International Paper where he was a shop steward. Ramsay was elected president of the Jackson County Central Labor Union in 1950. In 1959 he was elected President of the Mississippi AFL-CIO, a position he held until his retirement on January 1, 1986. Claude Ramsay died on January 17, 1986, leaving behind his wife, Mae Helen, and six children. He is buried in Hillman Cemetery near Leakesville, Mississippi. The 1960s saw Claude Ramsay active in the struggle to achieve civil rights and voting rights for black citizens, a stand so unpopular that he developed the reputation for carrying a shotgun in his automobile as a precaution against the threats of racists. In addition to facing desertion of white union members hostile to the civil rights movement, Ramsay was active in the Democratic Party and tried to keep white Mississippians loyal to the national party. He worked closely with Aaron Henry, President of the Mississippi NAACP and a leader of the Democratic Party in Mississippi, and was active in the Freedom Democratic Party, the Democratic Conference, and the Voter Registration and Education League. Ramsay was Vice-President of the AFL-CIO's Southern Labor School, on the board of the AFL-CIO Appalachian Council, a member of the Mississippi Employment Security Council, and a member of the Governor's Constitution Commission.
Biography of Mississippi AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Thomas Knight
- Thomas Knight was born in Forrest County, Mississippi. His first job was at the Reliance Manufacturing Company in Hattiesburg, where in 1946 he took a leading role in attempting to unionize the plant. In 1948 the plant was successfully organized by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) and Knight was elected the new local's first President. Knight became an organizer for the ACWA but returned to his old job and the local union's presidency after four years in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. After the merger of the AFL-CIO in the middle of the 1950s, Knight was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the new Mississippi AFL-CIO, a position he held until was elected its President in 1986 after the retirement of Claude Ramsay. Among his many activities, Thomas Knight was a long time director of the Committee of Political Education (COPE), Secretary of the Mississippi Consumer Association, and on the advisory Council of the Mississippi Employment Security Commission.
48 Linear Feet (in 248 manuscript boxes)
Language of Materials
The Mississippi State Federation of Labor was organized in 1918 and held its annual conventions until 1957, when it became known as the Mississippi AFL-CIO. The collection consists of the records of the Mississippi AFL-CIO and its predecessor, the Mississippi State Federation of Labor from 1947-1986. Records include President Claude Ramsay's correspondence (1959-1986); files relating to affiliated unions (1957-1983); records relating to the Congress of Industrial Organization and the AFL-CIO (1952-1985); material relating to Ramsay's interest in and involvement with local, state, and national government agencies (1960-1983); subject files; and a collection of photographs.
The records are arranged into five series:
- Series I: Correspondence, 1959-1986
- Series II: Affiliated Unions, 1957-1983
- Series III: CIO and AFL-CIO, 1952-1985
- Series IV: Government Agencies, 1960-1983
- Series V: Subject Files, 1947-1986
Donated by Mississippi State AFL-CIO, courtesy of Claude Ramsay, September 1986.
The photographs in this collection may have been digitized and are available online at Georgia State University Library Digital Collections.
During processing various materials were separated to other Southern Labor Archives Printed Collections. For pamphlets, see the Southern Labor Archives Pamphlet Collection finding aid (note that this collection has been weeded over time). For periodicals, including large runs of the Mississippi AFL-CIO Report, Mississippi Labor Council AFL-CIO Report, and the Mississippi Labor Federationist, see the Southern Labor Archives periodicals collection finding aid or catalog. For photographs, see the Southern Labor Archives Photographs Collection finding aid. For proceedings, artifacts, constitutions and bylaws, contracts, and audiovisual materials consult Special Collections for access.
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Constitutions and Bylaws Collection
- Mississippi Federation of Labor and the Mississippi State Industrial Union Council, Proposed Merger, 1956 (merger), 1957 (amended), 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, circa 1964, 1968, 1970, 1984
- Mississippi Labor Council COPE 1958
- Third Congressional District COPE, Mississippi AFL-CIO, circa 1962
- Fourth Congressional District COPE, Mississippi Labor Council, undated
- Sixth Congressional District COPE, Mississippi Labor Council, undated
- Mississippi State Building and Construction Trades Council, undated
- Mississippi Association of Central Labor Unions
- Columbus, Mississippi Central Labor Union COPE, 1958
- Harrison County, Mississippi Central Labor Council
- Hattiesburg, Mississippi Central Labor Union
- Jackson, Mississippi Central Labor Union
- Jackson County Mississippi Central Labor Union, 1957
- Jones County, Mississippi Central Labor Council
- Laurel, Mississippi Labor Council
- Tupelo, Mississippi Central Labor Union
- Alabama Labor Council, 1958, 1960, 1962
- Louisiana State Labor Council, 1961
- Louisiana State Labor Council COPE, 1960
- International Longshoremen's Association, Local No. 1752, Pascagoula, Mississippi, 1959
- Retired AFL-CIO Employees of America, 1973
- Southwest Rocky Mountain Central States Council, 1977
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Contracts Collection
- Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, Port Gibson, Mississippi, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 891, 1974
- The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, and The Pascagoula, Mississippi Metal Trades Council, 1971, 1981
- Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), 1978
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, 1960
- Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), Local Number 2, 1968
- Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, Local Number 3-632, 1978
- Memphis Police Association, Memphis, 1977
- National Union of Police Officers, Local Number 641, 1973
- American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 1944, 1968, 1969, 1971
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Proceedings Collection
- AFL-CIO Resolutions, Book II, 1985
- Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO, 1977
- Mississippi AFL-CIO: Mississippi State Federation of Labor, 1952, 1954
- Mississippi Labor Council, 1958-1962, 1964, 1970, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1982, 1984
- Mississippi State COPE, 1959, 1963
- Mississippi State Council of Carpenters, 1967
- Tennessee State Labor Council, 1967, 1968
- "Southern Exposure," 10th Anniversary Special Edition Proceedings of the 1974 Twenty-Ninth Annual Mississippi Law Institute on Modern Practice
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Photographs Collection
- 321 b/w prints
- 71 color prints
- 108 b/w proofs
- 27 color 35mm negatives
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Audiovisual Collection
- 1 phonograph recording, 33 1/3 rpm, "Lets Vote"
- 147 audio tapes
- 1 16mm color film: "6 one minute TV spots, AFL-CIO Centennial Moments," circa 1981
- 1 16 mm color film: 14 minutes, "AFL-CIO Update" (Labor supports Mondale), circa 1984
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Artifacts Collection
- 1 paperweight, cast metal, souvenir of St. Augustine, Florida
- 1 ballpoint pen, "1969 Convention, Tennessee State Labor Council, AFL-CIO" on barrel
- 2 buttons, "I marched on Solidarity Day, September 19, 1981, Washington, D.C."
- 2 lapel pins, "LEAP"
- 1 lapel pin, "VIP"
- 3 lapel pins, "America for Mondale"
- 1 plaque, American Red Cross to Claude Ramsay, November 1982
- 1 bumpersticker, "Go Steelworkers"
- 1 bumpersticker, "C.L. McKinley, Governor for the State of Mississippi"
- 1 bumpersticker, "Live Better / Work Union"
- 1 license plate, Alabama Labor Council, " `Union Wages Buy More' - Join the AFL-CIO"
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Pamphlets Collection -- Filed under the following headings:
- A. Philip Randolph Institute (12), Alcoholism (1), American Civil Liberties Union (3), AFL-CIO (2), AFL-CIO: AFL-CIO: Building and Construction Trades Dept. (1), AFL-CIO: COPE (23), AFL-CIO: Community Services Dept. (10), AFL-CIO: Ethical Practices Committee (1), AFL-CIO:Executive Council (1), AFL-CIO: Human Resources Development Institute (3), AFL-CIO: Publications Dept. (6), AFL-CIO: California Labor Council (1), AFL-CIO: Louisiana Labor Council (1), AFL-CIO: Mississippi Labor Council (1), United Automobile Workers (1), Black Workers (1), Civil Rights (13), Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (1), Collective Bargaining (6), Communism (2), Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (1), Consumers (2), Day Care Centers (1), Eugene V. Debs (3), Economic Stabilization Act (2), Education (8), Employment (11), Energy (3), Environmental Issues (1), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2), Farm Workers (1), Food Stamp Program (1), Handicapped Workers (5), Health Care (11), Hotel, Restaurant Employees and Bartenters Union (1), Job Security (2), Labor Day (2), Labor Education (8), Labor History (1), Labor Law Institute (1), Labor Laws, States (1), Labor-Management Relations Act (5), 1947, Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (1), Labor-Management Relations (1), League for Industrial Democracy (1), League of Women Voters (1), Manpower Development and Training Act (2), 1962, Minimum Wage Standards (2), Mississippi (4), Mississippi, Unionism (1), Multinational Corporations (1), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (1), National Labor Relations Act (2), Richard Nixon (1), Occupational Safety and Health (11), Poverty (8), Public Education (3), Public Employees (3), Race Relations (2), Religion and Labor (4), Right to Work (12), Scholarship Programs (2), Social Security (6), Strikes (1), Taxes (4), American Federation of Teachers (5), Tennessee Valley Authority (4), Textile Industry (1), Unemployment (1), Union Directories (1), Union Principles (4), Union Shop (2), United States Congress (2), United States Labor Dept. (3), Urban League (1), Vocational Education (10), Voter Registration (2), Voting (6), Work (1), Workers' Compensation (7), Workers' Compensation, States (5), Workers' Defense League (1)
Inventoried by Special Collections Staff at the file level.
- Schnitzler, F. William (Frank William), 1904- (Person)
- United States. National Labor Relations Board (Organization)
- Bonanno, Nicholas S. (Person)
- Griffin, Charles H. (Charles Hudson), 1926- (Person)
- Biemiller, Andrew J. (Andrew John), 1906-1982 (Person)
- Wright, Fielding (Fielding Lewis), 1895-1956 (Person)
- Colmer, William Meyers, 1890-1980 (Person)
- AFSCME (Organization)
- Riffe, John, 1904-1958 (Person)
- Winter, William F. (Person)
- American Federation of Teachers (Organization)
- United States. Office of Economic Opportunity (Organization)
- Williams, John Bell, 1918-1983 (Person)
- United States. Southeastern Regional Manpower Advisory Committee (Organization)
- Waller, Bill, 1926-2011 (Person)
- Wilkins, Roy, 1901-1981 (Person)
- Ramsay, Claude E., 1916-1986 (Person)
- Powell, Daniel A., 1911- (Person)
- Muskie, Edmund S., 1914-1996 (Person)
- Mississippi Advisory Committee for the Statewide Planning for Vocational Education (Organization)
- Mississippi State Federation of Labor (Organization)
- Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (Organization)
- Meany, George, 1894-1980 (Person)
- United States Commission on Civil Rights (Organization)
- State Advisory Committee for the Mississippi Employment Security Commission (Organization)
- Smith, Frank E. (Frank Ellis), 1918-1997 (Person)
- Reuther, Walter, 1907-1970 (Person)
- Jackson Police Officers Association (Jackson, Miss.) (Organization)
- Smith, Stanton E. (Stanton Everett), 1905- (Person)
- Haywood, Allan S., 1888-1953 (Person)
- Evers, Charles, 1922- (Person)
- Gartin, Carroll, 1913-1966 (Person)
- Democratic Party (Miss.) (Organization)
- Loyal Democrats of Mississippi (Organization)
- King, Coretta Scott (Person)
- Knight, Thomas, 1919- (Person)
- Kehrer, E. T. (Person)
- Johnson, Paul B., 1916-1985 (Person)
- Mississippi State AFL-CIO:
- A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library
- Georgia State University Library
- May 2001
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description