In the early 1930s, Charlotte Duncan Graham was a seamstress in Dallas, working alongside women in insufferable conditions. The environment was hot and dirty, and workers weren’t allowed to leave their seats. Managers found ways to circumvent garment industry labor codes to keep wages low and extend working hours. In response, Graham led a dozen women in requesting a charter from the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU). What followed was a months-long strike against 13 garment shops in the area that ended with Graham being blacklisted from Dallas. She went on to a life of activism, leading a major union strike in Los Angeles, continuing her work with the ILGWU, and advocating for the NAACP and Community Chest.
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