Working Together: How the Supreme Court Divided the Labor and Civil Rights Movements

Lecture | February 8 | 4 p.m. |  2521 Channing Way (Inst. for Res. on Labor & Employment)

 Catherine Fisk, Professor, Berkeley Law

 Institute of Research on Labor & Employment, Center for the Study of Law and Society, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law

Once, activists dreamed of an all-inclusive movement for poor people. But then came the 1950s – labor began to decline as a social movement, and civil rights leaders turned away from their early focus on labor rights. What role did the courts play in pushing these movements apart?

Professor Fisk finds that the era’s labor laws, which were hostile to picketing by labor organizers, encouraged civil rights advocates to distance themselves from labor movements. When the Supreme Court finally granted First Amendment protection to civil rights picketing that it had long denied to labor picketing, that decision cemented a divide between advocates who had once sought to create progressive, inclusive social movements.

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