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Oral History Interview with Lawrence Rogin, November 2, 1975. Interview E-0013. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Born in 1909, Lawrence Rogin grew up in New York with Russian Jewish immigrant parents. Rogin begins the interview by briefly discussing his family background, stressing the involvement of his parents and his aunt in radical politics. In 1926, Rogin entered Columbia University and became active in communist and socialist clubs on campus. In the process, he became increasingly interested in the labor movement and its association with radical politics. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, while he was finishing graduate work in political science, Rogin began to participate directly in the labor movement. He discusses his work at the Brookwood Labor College in Katonah, New York, and with the Central Labor Union in Reading, Pennsylvania. It was his experience with these two organizations that gave Rogin a firm foundation in labor education. Around 1937, he accepted a position with the Hosiery Workers Union, and he began to help organize hosiery workers throughout the South. He continued in this position until 1956, during which time he was primarily based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He describes his initial perceptions of the South, his thoughts on the state of the textile industry in that region, and labor education workshops held throughout the South. In addition to outlining mill conditions and assessing particular strikes, Rogin describes the leadership role of such activists as Emil Rieve, George Baldanzi, Scott Hoyman, Alfred "Tiny" Hoffman, Myles Horton, Joe Pedigo, and Roy Lawrence. After leaving the Hosiery Workers Union in 1956, Rogin worked as the education director of the AFL-CIO and taught at Wayne State University. He concludes the interview with a brief assessment of the importance of labor education and its neglect by the American labor movement.
    Excerpts
  • Coming to the labor movement through radical politics
  • Working in labor education in the 1930s
  • Evolution of the textiles industry in the North and South between the two World Wars
  • Working for the Hosiery Workers Union in the South
  • Organizing hosiery workers in the South
  • The state of the hosiery industry in the South
  • Role of leadership and labor education in organizing southern hosiery workers
  • The changing state of the southern textile industry after WWII
  • Importance of labor education and its neglect within the movement
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Trade-unions--Officials and employees--Southern States--Education
  • Trade-unions--Textile workers--Southern States
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.