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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Strikers battle police, February 1937
Strikers battle police, February 1937. Photo courtesy The Flint Journal

Sit-Down Strike

The sit-down strike of 1936-1937 in Flint, Michigan, lasted only 44 days, but its impact would alter the course of the industrial labor movement forever. It was a confrontation between a young and untested workers' union, the United Automobile Workers, and the largest manufacturer in the world, General Motors Corporation. The outcome of this strike affirmed the right of labor to collective bargaining and recognized the importance of human dignity to all workers.

In 1998 Mott Community College organized the oral history and portrait project which culminated in an exhibition entitled "Witnesses and Warriors," with 35 portraits (9 sculptures and 27 paintings, prints, and drawings) by 32 Flint-area artists commemorating participants in the strikes. In accompanying text block, each sit-downer recounts a part of the story of this pivotal event in labor and Michigan history.

Along with audiotape interview of Robert Keith, one of the strikers, with an accompanying transcript of the interview, the project also includes a short history of the strike, historic photographs of the strike and contemporary portraits of the strikers, and the exhibition catalog entitled: "The Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936-1937: Witnesses and Warriors."

Originally submitted by: Dale E. Kildee, Representative (9th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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