Tuesday, February 07, 2012

African American History Month Forum on Labor & Civil Rights, Saturday, Feb. 11, 5:00-8:00pm

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory

Event: African American History Month Forum
Date: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 5:00-8:00pm
Topic: Labor Rights, Civil Rights: A Legacy of Class Struggle
Speakers: Martha Grevatt & Abayomi Azikiwe
Location: 5920 Second Avenue at Antoinette, North of WSU Campus
Sponsor: Workers World Party Detroit Branch
Dinner Served: Featuring African American Cuisine
Contact: 313-459-0777 or 313-671-3715
E-mail: detroit@workers.org or panafnewswire@yahoo.com
URL: www.workersworld.net/detroit

African American History Month Forum on Labor Rights, Civil Rights: A Legacy of Class Struggle

February 11 is the 75th anniversary of the victory of the 1937 Flint Sit-down strike, one of the most significant events in U.S. labor history. After occupying General Motors plants for 44 days, workers won recognition of the United Auto Workers and the first industry contract.

This victory set off a chain reaction. Not only autoworkers but workers in steel, textile, retail, restaurant, public service and other sectors won union recognition. During this year of working class upsurge African American workers, as well as Latino/a, Asian, Native, immigrant and women workers, played a pivotal role.

February 11 is also the 22nd anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison and the first anniversary of the resignation--after the Egyptian masses took to the streets--of ex-President Hosni Mubarak. The struggle in Egypt inspired the occupation of the state capital building in Madison, Wisconsin, and the Occupy Movement that has swept the country.

February 12 is the 44th anniversary of the start of the Memphis sanitation strike. African American workers began this strike on Lincoln's birthday to draw attention to the slave conditions they were working under, which led to the death of two workers who were crushed inside a compactor.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis to show solidarity with the strike when he was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. On April 16 AFSCME Local 1733 had won their first contract in the city.

February is African American History Month. We invite you to a public forum on these important historical milestones, where we will draw lessons for the struggles unfolding right now.

Please come out and hear two interesting and compelling speakers:

Martha Grevatt--who has been a UAW Chrysler worker for 24 years, first in Ohio and now in Detroit. She has written extensively on the crisis facing autoworkers for Workers World newspaper. She is the author of a pamphlet, "In Our Hand is Placed a Power: the Flint Sit-down Strike" and is working on a book on the same subject.

Abayomi Azikiwe--Editor of the Pan-African News Wire, has researched and written extensively on the political and social history of Southwest Tennessee where Memphis is located. His presentation will focus on the sanitation workers strike as a culmination of a decade-long struggle in the region and the relationship of these historical developments to the current situation involving African American workers in the South and in the city of Detroit. Azikiwe is the author of "Africa and Imperialism," a pamphlet published in 2011 by Workers World newspaper. He is also a contributor to two books published recently: "Haiti: A Slave Revolution" and Gaza: Symbol of Resistance.

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