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Conversations with Maida Springer

A Personal History of Labor, Race, and International Relations

Yvette Richards (author)

ISBN: 9780822942313

Publication Date: May 2004

Format: Hardback

In this collection of interviews, Yevette Richards allows Maida Springer to tell her story in her own words. The result is a glimpse into the private struggles and thoughts behind one of the 20th century's most enigmatic international labour leaders.

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Born in Panama in 1910, Maida Springer grew up in Harlem. While still a young girl she learned firsthand of the bleak employment options available to African American females of her time. After one employer closed his garment shop and ran off with the workers' wages in the midst of the Depression, Springer joined Local 22 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. This proved to be the first step in a remarkable advancement through the ranks of labor leadership positions that were typically dominated by white men. Ultimately, Springer became one of the AFL-CIO's most important envoys to emerging African nations, earning her the nickname "Mama Maida" throughout that continent. In this masterfully edited collection of interviews, Yevette Richards allows Springer to tell her story in her own words. The result is a unique and fascinating glimpse into the private struggles and thoughts behind one of the twentieth century's most enigmatic international labor leaders.


In a fascinating set of interviews, Yevette Richards has documented Springer's own feisty voice illuminating major issues of her day, including the foreign policy of the AFL-CIO, laborite anti-Communism, women's leadership in trade unions, and black freedom struggles here and abroad. - Elleen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara; "Richards has introduced us to a neglected activist whose struggle for fairness, dignity, and racial justice in the United States and Africa spanned half a century." - Albert S. Broussard, Texas A&M University; "A splendid contribution to black women's history." - Dariene Clark Hine, coeditor of Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia
Illustrations illustrations
Pages 400
Date Published 31 May 2004
Publisher University of Pittsburgh Press
Subject/s Black & Asian studies   Trade unions   Biography & True Stories  
Yevette Richards, associate professor in women's and African American studies at George Mason University, is the author of Maida Springer: Pan-Africanist and International Labor Leader.

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