COMM-ORG Papers

Volume 15, 2009

Papers Homepage
   Holding Corporate Americaís Feet to the Fire:
The Industrial Areas Foundationís Collision Course with Kodak

Quilen Diedre Blackwell

qdblackwell@gmail.com


Contents

Introduction
Setting the Stage for the Industrial Areas Foundation
The History of the Industrial Areas Foundation
     1940s
     1950s
     1960s
The History of the Eastman Kodak Company
The Industrial Areas Foundation Challenges Kodak
Conclusion
Bibliography
Notes
Acknowledgments
About the Author


Introduction

It is not the fault of the legislators that they must listen to the twenty million who are organized, for those are the loudest and, with minor exceptions, the only voices in America.

Saul David Alinsky, Reville for Radicals

“The hope and future of America lies with its radicals.” Saul Alinsky wrote these words in his book Reville for Radicals, which is a guide to organizing working class communities. He wrote these words in 1946 amid a new boom in the American economy after World War Two. Renewed optimism was in the hearts of many war veterans as government initiatives and newfound economic opportunities spurred on social upward mobility. Although the war confirmed the United States as a world super power and gave spirited faith in the American dream, a concurrent narrative was unfolding. Social disparities widened as many ethnic and working class groups remained marginalized. The denial of the American dream to these people during such prosperous times exacerbated the need for political and economic empowerment. Neighborhood organizing emerged as a sustainable vehicle to address this need.

Few scholarly works studied the effects of politically motivated community organizing efforts against big American businesses. The larger works in the field address notable community actions on big businesses, such as Larry R. Salomon’s Roots of Justice: Stories of Organizing in Communities of Color, which discusses actions committed against big businesses by community organizations such as the Bank of America incident in the 1960s in terms of the larger Civil Rights movement. However, no scholarly work covers the historic influences on a community organization’s deliberate decisions that allows for them to effectively hold a big business accountable. Secondary literature usually illustrates activist’s organizational strategizing against business as brief snapshots in a historical vacuum.

I attempt to contribute to this body of scholarly work by exploring what influenced the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) organizational strategy in confronting corporate America. I contend that the IAF emerged at a pivotal point in neighborhood organizing history since they could learn from the lessons of prior organizing attempts. Learning from past organizing experiences combined with an innovative vision and an unrelenting work credo led to successful organizing campaigns against big business. Moreover, I believe broad based, Alinsky-style neighborhood organizations such as the Industrial Areas Foundation built an institutional structure that placed the organization in a position to be successful against large enterprises. I define a broad based community organization as a collection of local institutions such as churches, community centers, and neighborhood associations with the goal of fundamentally changing the distribution of power within their municipality.

This paper uses a particular case study in order to illustrate the impact that the IAF’s deliberate institutional choices had in skillfully mobilizing communities against corporate America. In 1965, the IAF affiliate known as Freedom, Integrity, God, Honor-Today (FIGHT) collided with Eastman Kodak in a notable community struggle to wrestle jobs for unemployed blacks during the mid 1960s in Rochester, New York. This dispute with a prominent company forced the IAF to implement the strategy of a “stock proxy.” The stock proxy is lobbying shareholders to threaten divestment of stocks in a company to place political pressure on the corporation in order to fulfill the community organization’s goals. I term this phenomenon of a neighborhood group holding a business accountable to its local people in this manner as shareholder activism.

I have some important questions in assessing the Eastman Kodak-FIGHT conflict. Firstly, what allowed the IAF to be effective in the dispute with Kodak? This question seeks to reveal some of the basic principles in successfully engaging a large corporation. Secondly, did big businesses fund these neighborhood organizations and, if so, how did this affect their relationship? This is an important question of the source of power for a community group. It is widely assumed that whoever finances an organization controls the organization. Therefore, we must understand if a successful neighborhood organization such as the IAF consciously avoided funding from big businesses.

My thesis is organized into three sections in order to illustrate the principle reasons for the Industrial Areas Foundation’s collision course with corporate America. The first section is a general history of neighborhood organizing that focuses on the historical organizational ideas and efforts that influenced the conceptual framework of the IAF. Following this section is a specific history of the Industrial Areas Foundation, which outlines the factors that allowed for the organization’s stunning success along the themes of effective actions, IAF’s operational scope, and choices of funding sources. The second section is a history of the Eastman Kodak Company from about 1901 to 1964 that portrays the company along the lines of its founding, capitalization, company sponsored employee welfare, and community involvement in order to gain an understanding of its political and economic stature. Finally, my thesis ends with an assessment and narrative of the Eastman Kodak-FIGHT conflict. This section outlines the founding and development of FIGHT into a local political powerhouse that could effectively contend with Kodak on the national stage.

Setting the Stage for the Industrial Areas Foundation

The Industrial Areas Foundation consumes a small slice of the larger history of neighborhood organizing. The IAF had to learn from the efforts and ideas of its predecessors in order to figure out how they could contribute to engaging the disengaged within the American political fabric. Settlement houses, community centers, international institutes, the Cincinnati Social Unit Project, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the Communist Party, and religious organizing movements served as these key predecessors for the IAF. However, before discussing these groups we must first understand where the need for community organizing arose.

Neighborhood organizing in America began in the latter half of the nineteenth century, as industrialization changed the internal structure of cities promoting faster growth and greater class and racial divisions.1 At the turn of the twentieth century when the economy was fully industrialized, the settlement house movement became the first form of neighborhood organizing to address the effects of industrialization in the cities. Settlement houses provided shelter for poor, working class citizens of impoverished areas, and were staffed by workers who came from the college educated sons and daughters of “old wealth.”

Although the settlement house movement continued to prosper throughout the early twentieth century, it had its drawbacks, which created opportunities for other forms of organizing. Settlement houses developed a reputation of having “elite professional control” because common citizens were not incorporated in the decision making process.2 As a result, different forms of neighborhood organizing sprang up to more effectively incorporate working-class people into their communities. In 1907, the “community center” movement was launched to counteract the prevalence of class segregation, the large numbers of unassimilated immigrants, and the rapid growth of harmful leisure time recreations, such as burlesque, pool halls, bars, and motion pictures.3 In an effort to gain more legitimacy for their work, they professionalized “community organizations,” which focused more on the coordination of social programs than on social reform. This change in community organizing philosophy ultimately reduced citizen participation as working class people were seen more as “clients” of social services rather than equals who shared in directing the collective destiny of the neighborhood.4 A combination of dues paying residents, local governments, and donations from upper-class members funded these centers.5 The community center movement continued to expand during the 1920s, but reduced involvement from common citizens due to the professionalization of its staff mitigated the movement’s impact.

While meeting the needs of immigrants served as one of the purposes of community centers, an alternative type of neighborhood organizing effort exclusively sought to meet these needs. The nearly sixty international institutes in America during the early twentieth century wanted to support immigrant services and programs. The Young Women’s Christian Association hired Edith Terry Bremer in 1909 to lead this effort and, inspired by her leadership, by the mid 1920s they achieved many of their initial social goals, gave up considerable control of local agencies to the immigrant communities, and even pioneered the concept of cultural pluralism. These institutes were largely funded by their own members and the YWCA. International institutes had organizations in urban centers such as Boston, Providence, Baltimore, Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, St. Louis, Milwaukee, San Antonio, and a slew of other cities.6 Overall, international institutes organized immigrant communities so that they could more effectively organize for themselves.7

During the early twentieth century, a bold new experiment in neighborhood organizing transpired that initially tried to shift community political dynamics. The 1917 Cincinnati Social Unit Plan became an ambitious project to alleviate the conditions of poor, working class individuals. Much like the previous movements, the principle of experts meeting the needs of working class people guided this plan. The organizers of the Cincinnati Social Unit Plan tried to deemphasize the political aspects of the project to make it more effective.8 However, this method backfired as the political climate in Cincinnati became more conservative during the first “red scare” in 1919. The mayor of Cincinnati at the time labeled the project as being “one step away from Bolshevism,” which caused the major financial contributors of the project to pull out in fear of being labeled un-American by their peers. These hasty actions on the part of the financers ultimately led to the collapse of the organization.9

Settlement houses, community centers, international institutes, and the Cincinnati Social Unit Project attempted to mobilize people throughout the early history of community organizing, but funding for initiatives declined as the economy entered the depression of the 1930s, resulting in more innovative and resourceful forms of community organizing. Working class people faced evictions, unemployment, and inadequate social relief programs due to the Great Depression.10 The New Deal of the 1930s supported union organizing efforts such as the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).11 The CIO was founded on November 9, 1935, and chose the staunch John L. Lewis to lead it.12 It maintained an agenda of collective bargaining, centralized and authoritative union leadership, and fundamental support of basic American institutions including private enterprise.13 The CIO quickly rose in stature and prominence as they became a key player in the reelection of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President in 1936.14 This labor organization’s significant contribution to American labor union history came in the form of effective industrial unionism especially in the automobile and steel industry.15 The Industrial Areas Foundation would later take on a modified mold of the CIO as this labor organization inspired the IAF’s visionary leader: Saul D. Alinsky.

There was fertile ground for the Communist Party to take root as the Great Depression gripped America. The Communists viewed the rampant unemployment in the United States as an inevitable by-product of capitalism.16 The Communists had five basic goals for their platform in the 1930s: unemployment insurance equal to full wages, a seven-hour work day, emergency economic relief, worker administration of relief and benefits, and recognition of the Soviet Union.17 The Party rallied the support of the unemployed as they were able to march 75,000 people on Capitol Hill for a hunger strike in 1932.18 The Daily Worker, a Communist newspaper, called the march a “splendid victory” and a defeat of the “hunger government at Washington.” This event launched the Communist Party to the stage of national publicity, forced the government to back down, and they avoided violence in the process.19 The startling effectiveness of the Communists did catch the attention of one future leader. Saul Alinsky flirted with the Communist Party in the 1930s, but never became a card-holding member of the Party.20

Religious organizations attempted to alleviate the problems of the Great Depression with mixed results. For example, the Catholic Worker Movement, which was founded by Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day in the 1930s, was a community organizing effort to respond to the problems of the Great Depression.21 Maurin and Day did not set policy for these Catholic communes because they believed that the members of each commune should make the decisions for the unique needs of their communities. This also meant that each commune had to finance their own organization. Therefore, Maurin and Day operated more as philosophical advisers, but they did not hold any organizational controls. By the end of the 1930s, they were successful in establishing several Catholic Worker communes.22 Unfortunately for the movement, Catholic Worker communes served more as second hand urban settlement houses.23 However, the movement did prove that religious institutions played a significant role in the history of organizing. They provided six crucial functions to successful organizing from the standpoint of the organizer: a ready made constituency, a mission, organizational networks, leadership resources and training capacities, financial resources, and social action models of community organization.24

Neighborhood organizing quickly matured in its one hundred and thirty year history as the problems that industrialization created for American cities became more difficult to solve. Increased neighborhood organizing efforts spawned several different types of ways to address these issues. Some methods to address these issues were short lived such as the brief existence of the Cincinnati Social Unit Project and others obtained longevity but lost effectiveness such as the community center movement. However, the Industrial Areas Foundation succeeded in carving out a unique niche in organizing history during the post-World War Two era where they would manage to become relevant and permanent fixtures of the American political framework.

The History of the Industrial Areas Foundation

As America readied itself for war against the Axis in the early 1940s, the IAF meanwhile embarked on its war to empower the powerless in America. With a brilliant organizer in the form of Saul Alinsky at the helm, the IAF was ready to become a bold new experiment in community organizing history. Attentively learning from the wisdom and experiences of past organizing efforts, the IAF sought to build an organizational framework with the primary purpose for power and to provide a principle product called social change. Little did Alinsky know in 1940 that the birth of the Industrial Areas Foundation would help throngs of citizens take back their communities for decades to come. This section seeks to demonstrate the deliberate choices of the organization, which allowed for it to position itself for effective action against corporate America. It explores these decisions from 1940 until about 1965 along the themes of funding, political actions, operational scope, and overall political influence within the realm of local politics.

1940s

Conceived during America’s battle for a better economy, the IAF was born at a crucial changing point in American history where it quickly sought to discover its purpose. IAF started as The Back of the Yards organization in Chicago in1939 as a result of the experiences of the gruff ghetto organizer Saul D. Alinsky in both the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and the Communist Party. Alinsky created Back of the Yards, named after the Chicago neighborhood, in an attempt to build “people’s organizations” nationwide. These “people’s organizations” provided an outlet for working class citizens to participate in the democratic process.25 Alinsky used broad-based organizing techniques to establish his organizations. Alinsky sought to legitimize the IAF much as John L. Lewis legitimized the Congress of Industrial Organizations: by identifying the demands of the IAF with the American ideas of fairness and justice.26

As a matter of fact, the CIO sparked the first issue for the Back of the Yards in 1939 when Packingtown workers in Chicago desired a wage increase from Armour and Company.27 The Chicago Archdiocese bolstered the effort when Bishop Sheil identified the labor struggle with the Declaration of Independence’s foundational principles of the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.28 Due to this reasoning, the Archdiocese believed that workers had the right to unionism in the plants of the Packingtown Trust.29 Don Harris, National Director of the Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee, stated that the unreasonable policies of Armour and Co. would push the contentious labor dispute towards a strike.30 The threatened strike eventually came as labor and management could not reach an agreement on the wage raise. Management wanted to raise wages by nine cents while labor demanded a raise of twenty-nine cents, which led to100,000 packinghouse workers striking across the country.31 This dispute lasted for several years, but by late1946 union and management reached an agreement that increased wages for over 36,000 employees.32 This case contributed to Alinsky’s paradigm in terms of effectively mobilizing working class citizens against business.

The success of the packinghouse labor dispute legitimized Alinsky and the IAF amongst potential donors. Alinsky used this momentum to establish a board of directors to support the IAF. He knew he had to shrewdly choose members that would unabashedly support the IAF’s mission. He finalized this task in 1940 as the board consisted of several battle tested individuals such as Marshall Field (founder of Marshall Field’s retail store), Bishop Sheil (head of the Catholic Youth Organization), Kathryn Lewis (daughter of John L. Lewis, founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations), Howland G. Shaw (an assistant secretary in the State Department), Britton Budd (president of the Public Service Company of Northern Illinois in Chicago), Stuyvesant Peabody of the Peabody Coal Company family, and Judge Theodore Rosen (a prominent jurist and civic leader in Philadelphia).33

These board members put up sums of money to initially jumpstart the organization. The IAF survived on annual financial contributions of $5,000 each from Marshall Field, Bishop Sheil, and Adele Rosenwald Levy (the daughter of Sears, Roebuck founder Julius Rosenwald) with modest contributions from the other board members. The total contributions from the board members gave Alinsky an initial budget of about $20,000 annually, which left the IAF tottering on the edge of bankruptcy. In the spring of 1944, Alinsky met Valentine and Harriet Macy, who accumulated much wealth due to Valentine’s grandfather, Josiah Macy, who held business interests in an oil refinery with John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil. Alinsky convinced the Macys to contribute $2,500 within a month of their meeting and they eventually became members of the board.34

The emerging clout of the IAF created opportunities for Alinsky as a public pundit. He viewed these speaking engagements as opportunities to bolster the IAF’s credibility. In August of 1942, the National Conference of Catholic Charities (NCCC) requested that he write a one thousand word essay for the Catholic Charities Review concerning community development of the urban poor.35 The NCCC even invited him to speak about Catholic leadership at their September conference of that year, which Alinsky reluctantly accepted because he held a “personal aversion” towards the discussion of leadership “in terms of Catholic leadership” because he only understood leadership.36 Furthermore, academics became interested in Alinsky’s work both as an activist and as an intellectual. In April of 1943, William F. Bryon, a professor at Northwestern University, asked for Alinsky’s written opinion of what “we in social work can learn from the Industrial Area’s experiment.”37 Academics were also willing to critique Alinsky’s intellectual work, which suggest that they took him seriously as a scholar. For example, a New York University professor took the time to review Alinsky’s report of the Committee in Crime Prevention of the American Prison Association in November of 1943.38

Of course, the publicity that the IAF received in both academic and political circles allowed for “coalition building” requests from interests groups, which sometimes were guises for these groups to use the IAF to advance their own agendas. The National Public Housing Conference of Chicago was one such group. In August of 1945, they initially wanted to partner with the IAF in an effort to raise awareness of post-war affordable housing issues.39 Soon, awareness turned into urging the Illinois governor to call for a special session of the state legislature concerning affordable housing for veterans.40 Finally, the National Public Housing Conference of Chicago revealed their true interests when they wanted the IAF to assist them in an annual membership drive where the minimum dues payment was five dollars each.41

In the late 1940s, the IAF expanded its operations from the Midwest to the western part of the United States. In August of 1947, Alinsky hired Fred Ross, mentor to the now famous organizer Cesar Chavez, to organize Mexican-American communities in California. Ross, who quit his consulting job with the American Council on Race Relations, to go into organizing, was paid $3,000 a year by the IAF and an additional $1,000 per year by the film star Melvyn Douglas and his wife Helen Gahagan Douglas, a U.S. Congresswoman, in order to continue organizing the Community Service Organization (CSO) for the IAF, which sought to mobilize Latinos in California.42 One of the people who Ross recruited and trained for the CSO in 1955 was a woman named Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the now famous National Farm Workers Association with Cesar Chavez.43

1950s

Early success in the 1940s in the political and academic arenas forced the IAF to set their sights on higher things at the dawn of the 1950s. A sense that anything was possible allowed them to pursue bolder endeavors. As a result, the IAF significantly increased in operating scope and its annual budget ballooned as funds flowed in from overanxious donors and dues payers.

The IAF stepped up its funding efforts at the beginning of the 1950s as they sought to balance their budget. Contributions exceeded operational costs by $9,053.95 in their 1951-52 auditor’s report, which reduced the IAF’s total deficit down to $4,578.11.44 Fifty-nine individuals, labor unions, religious organizations, and other entities contributed to the IAF in 1951.45 Accrued salaries and the retirement fund accounted for the IAF’s largest liabilities.46 The operational costs totaled $758,760.00 in 1951. The bulk of these costs were tied into several local organizations throughout the nation. These organizations were based in Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Atlanta, San Francisco, Des Moines, Gary, Indiana, Detroit, El Paso, and Denver while the central office in Chicago accounted for the remaining costs.47

Prosperous funding prospects continued in the mid-1950s as Saul Alinsky outlined all of the likely financial contributors to the IAF for the years 1953 through 1957:

CONTRIBUTORS

SUM (in dollars annually)

Marshall Field

25,000

Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation

225,000

Field Foundation

40,000

Valentine E. Macy

25,000

United Mine Workers of America

25,000

Mrs. David M. Levy

25,000

Mrs. Eugene Meyer

15,000

Doris Duke Foundation

8,000

United Packinghouse Workers

3,000

Morris Cayfritz (Tentative but promising)

“15,000”

Hermon D. Smith

1,500

Leonard M. Rieser

1,500

DeWitt Wallace

2,500

A.W. Mellon Trust (Tentative but probable)

“25,000”

Ford Foundation (Tentative but promising)

“225,000”

Source: Saul Alinsky to Leo Gerngross, 22 April, 1953. Letter in the hand of Leo Gerngross. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

The IAF’s funding came primarily from four sources during this era: private philanthropists, labor unions, religious institutions, and foundations. Private philanthropists contributed at least $109,000 in the 1950s. Marshall Field, Valentine E. Macy, and Hermon D. Smith were members of the original founding IAF board in 1940, which shows the loyal ties that the IAF inspired.48 Unions displayed support by chipping in about $28,000.49 Religious institutions contributions were generally political in nature. For example, in 1954 the IAF received $4,000 from the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago to organize Puerto Ricans on Chicago’s south side.50 This represented the first time that the IAF received money from the Archdiocese, which helped funded the salary of Nicholas von Hoffman, the new organizer for the project. By 1957, IAF received a three-year, $118,800 grant from the Archdiocese of Chicago in a demonstration of the Church’s faith in the IAF.51

Foundations contributed the most of these three groups with an estimated combined total of $573,000. The Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation served as the largest financial contributor of the IAF in the 1950s.52 Much of this money went to financing three-year grants for starting various broad-based organizations. For example, on May 8, 1955 the IAF submitted an application to the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation asking for $82,000 per year over a course of three years for a total of $246,000 for organizing efforts in the Southwest. This requested grant extended the original three-year, $150,000 grant that the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation provided the IAF in November of 1952. This particular grant paid for an adult education director, educational materials, and other expenses necessary for an educational program. The educational program enrolled Spanish speaking people in naturalization classes with the ultimate goal of voter registration to increase citizen participation in California.53

As a result of the IAF’s heavy dependence on support from foundations, it was vital that the IAF leadership cultivated close personal ties with the leadership of these foundations. These cordial relationships produced hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding various IAF projects. For example, Saul Alinsky (Executive Director of the IAF) cultivated a close friendship with Adolf Hirsch (President of the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation who succeeded Leo Gerngross). On January 17, 1952 Saul Alinsky wrote to Adolf Hirsch that he had a good time discussing “so many subjects…that do not have a God damn thing to do with the Schwarzhaupt Foundation or the Industrial Areas Foundation” and even goes as far as writing that he has become so accustomed to Hirsch’s company that on a day he did not see him he “honestly missed (Hirsch) and felt that there was something incomplete and wrong with the day.” Alinsky ends the letter by writing “a new (and) very real friendship was taking place,” which was “much more important than the actual reasons for which people meet in the beginning;” he even attaches a personal post script that states “Sylvia was married yesterday and she is working today which gives you some idea of one of two things. Either her utter fanatical devotion to the work or else what a [jerk] of a boss she’s got.”54 In response, in a January 28, 1952 letter to Saul Alinsky, Hirsch writes “I just returned from my trip to New York and was somewhat disappointed not to have received a call from [Saul Alinsky]” and he ends this very amicable letter with an “invitation to attend the All Star game to be held here in Philadelphia.”55

Funding by private philanthropists, labor unions, religious institutions, and private foundations of the IAF allowed for more financial freedom. This improved the IAF’s effectiveness because flexible funding sources created a stronger front against political attack. For only twenty years prior to the establishment of the IAF the Cincinnati Social Unit Project’s strategy of “deemphasizing the politics” backfired when its major financial contributors pull out as a result of a politically conservative mayor calling the project “one step away from Bolshevism.” The IAF had to emphasize the political aspect of funding and select its financial sources wisely and carefully. Ultimately, this meant selecting funders whose politics aligned with those of the IAF.

1960s

The 1950s financially freed the IAF from the potential graveyard of debt and bankruptcy that every fledging organization risks. Such fortunate blessings did not come for nothing. Great expectations were placed upon the IAF as sympathetic financers and working class citizens desired greater political actions and quicker social changes. Luckily for the IAF, the 1960s turned out to be a time of deliverance.

The IAF started to come of age in the 1960s as they gained more legitimacy within political grassroots circles with the success of the Temporary Woodlawn Organization. The Woodlawn community was a predominantly black community on Chicago’s south side. The city of Chicago developed a proposal that included a program of urban renewal clearance, conservation, and rehabilitation. When Chicago officials were asked if anyone from the Woodlawn community voiced their opinions about the plan, they responded by saying, “there is nobody to speak for the community. A community does not exist in Woodlawn.” A prominent University of Chicago sociologist stated that “the people there have only one common bond, opposition to the University of Chicago” and he continued by stating that “this is a community that reads nothing. The children find no educational incentive in the home.”56

Little did these private city think tanks know that a community in Woodlawn did exist, and that the community soon would be heard. Some 1,500 delegates representing more than 20,000 members from 102 block clubs, church groups, social clubs, businessmen’s committees, and youth organizations prepared for a founding convention that would make the Temporary Woodlawn Organization (TWO) permanent. The fighting slogan for their first issue became “we will not be planned for as though we were children” as the planned urban renewal infuriated citizens.

The Industrial Areas Foundation aggressively pursued donors to support the project financially. Their persistence paid dividends. TWO received a three-year grant totaling $69, 996.00 from the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, $150,000 over three years from Cardinal Meyer Archdiocese of Chicago, and St. Sabina’s Church chipped in $7,530.32.57 These donations in addition to dues paid by members created a stable financial base for TWO.

Now TWO was ready for action. They began small by fighting violations by slum landlords and received results with corrected violations and rehabilitation of apartments in poor condition. Then TWO achieved higher goals as members showed up at a City Planning Commission hearing and won a complicated issue that forced the rewriting of an ordinance that would have allowed for large-scale clearance. The next major issue involved cheating by local supermarkets as shoppers detected improper weighing devices and fraudulent additions at these stores. TWO became victorious on this issue as they boycotted the most notorious supermarket, which forced the store to readjust its scales since they were losing business.58

The urban legend of TWO spread through several newspaper and magazine outlets. The National Observer called the group “one of the more successful Negro community groups in the country” for its ability to deal with “slum buildings, credit sharks, urban renewal, discrimination, unresponsive politicians, and overcrowded schools.”59 Presbyterian Life described TWO as “permeated with a Christian outlook, but it bears little resemblance to the calm and ordered Christianity of our suburbs” because the organization found answers to issues in housing, schools, jobs, and urban planning.60 The United Church Observer stated that Saul Alinsky was a “prophet of hope” to the poor themselves.61

The amazing success of TWO created opportunities for various other organizing projects with three-year grants such as expanding Fred Ross’ Community Service Organization (CSO) based in California. The IAF had the deep conviction that it took “approximately three-years of organizational staff servicing to each community organization in order to secure a permanent, self-financed project.” The three-year grant simply covered the start-up cost of running the local people’s organization. Members of the organization self-sustained it by paying annual dues. In 1963, the CSO’s expanded chapters of Bakersfield, Hanford, and Fresno, California, discussed the issue of raising the annual dues from $5.00 to $12.00 a member. This increased payment occurred so that both the regional CSO and its local affiliates could survive. The CSO launched educational programs, service center programs, encouraged the establishment of credit unions, and basically filled the needs of the communities that it served during this era.62

Amplified IAF operations continued into the Southern, Eastern, and Southwestern parts of the United States. The Southern Regional Director was responsible for setting up people’s organizations in Atlanta, Birmingham, and New Orleans. The Eastern Regional Director was responsible with similar operations in Newark, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York. The Southwest Regional Director operated throughout the region, but was mainly based in El Paso, San Antonio, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other major municipalities.63 All of these organizations operated under the broad-based organizing model, but adjusted the model to meet the unique needs of their specific communities. As the IAF’s prominence amongst grass roots organizers increased, special opportunities arose such as in 1963 when the Rev. Ralph Abernathy of Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference decided to join IAF’s board of trustees.64

Successful navigation of several key obstacles throughout the 1940s, 50s, and early 60s positioned the IAF to challenge America’s colossal institutions. The IAF only accepted money from organizations whose politics aligned with their mission. In turn, they used this money to start up eventually self-sustaining people organizations that forced political victories within their localities. Years of mastering this delicate process readied the IAF for larger challenges. One such challenge was corporate America, whose influence permeated every aspect of American society. The neighborhood organizing effort of Freedom, Integration, God, Honor, Today (FIGHT), an affiliate of the IAF, and the Eastman Kodak dispute in Rochester, New York, served as a powerful paragon. Eastman Kodak was considered a giant of industry at the time of the conflict, and understanding the development of this corporate behemoth is essential.

The History of the Eastman Kodak Company

Eastman Kodak established itself as a formidable foe at the time of the Kodak-FIGHT dispute. However, the company’s tenacious drive to succeed from the beginning placed it in a premier position by the mid 1960s. This section explores the rise of Kodak along the lines of the company’s founding during the first merger movement, the company’s capitalization from 1920 to 1964, the company’s sponsored employee welfare, and the company’s community involvement in the city of Rochester.

American business experienced a great merger movement at the turn of the twentieth century. Hundreds of firms horizontally consolidated as the United States seemingly transformed overnight from several freely competing, individually owned firms to a few giant corporations. This led to increased prices for consumers and restricted competitor’s access to markets and raw materials. In response to these actions, the Federal government ratcheted up regulation by strengthening the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 and passing the Federal Trade Commission Act and Clayton Anti-Trust Act in 1914. This launched a series of law suits and investigations by the government against major trusts.65

Eastman Kodak was founded amid this great merger movement on October 24, 1901, as the company officially incorporated in the state of New Jersey.66 Kodak acquired the following corporations at the moment of incorporation: The Eastman Kodak Company of Rochester, New York (capital of $1,000,000); the General Aristo Company of Rochester, New York (capital of $2, 400,000); the Kodak, Ltd. of London (capital of £250,000); the Eastman Kodak Societe Anonyme Francaise of Paris (capital of 1,000,000 francs); and the Kodak Gesellschaft of Berlin (capital of 100,000 marks).67 Next for Kodak came its first listing on Wall Street in October of 1902 as it became a publicly traded company.68 That same year, Kodak emerged as multinational company as it directly invested in Belgium, Holland, Austria, and Hungary by opening retail and wholesale stores.69

Kodak’s financial standing prospered as the company grew between 1920 and 1964. In 1920, Kodak held assets worth $92,782,035 in things such as properties, materials and supplies, and marketable stock and bonds.70 By 1940, these assets more than doubled at $213, 752,108 and by the time of the Eastman Kodak-FIGHT conflict in 1964, Kodak’s total assets skyrocketed to a bountiful $715,430,847.71 Kodak’s capital stock followed a similar pattern. The company issued $5,000,000 in common stock in 1920.72 By 1940 these figures were at $99,940,520 in common stock.73 Finally, in 1964 the value of common stock escalated to $403,013,590.74

Eastman Kodak’s allotment of employee welfare benefits varied from 1920 to 1964. In 1920, employee welfare consisted of $1,079,355 as the company made $10,330,429 in profits.75 By 1930, as the Great Depression crippled the economy, the company only made $1,891,867, but they doled about $11,385,812 for employee welfare.76During the early part of World War Two, Kodak significantly reduced their employee benefits to $3,434,628 although profits soared to $38,697,282. After the war in 1950, Kodak’s good fortune continued. They netted $61,858,957 that year while employee n\benefit spending slightly increased to a relatively modest $5,090,351.77 At the time of the Eastman Kodak dispute in the mid 1960s, Kodak consumed $187,243,263 in profits while distributing an astronomical $60,697,069 in employee benefits.78 These large sums of money dedicated to employee welfare helped to bolster the positive perception of the Kodak Company.

Being a good corporate citizen became synonymous with the Eastman Kodak brand name. Between 1915 and 1920, Kodak contributed $10,000,000 to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, allocated $4,000,000 to build the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York, set aside $6,000,000 in Kodak stock for the company’s employees, gave several thousand dollars to each the Hampton Institute and Tuskegee Institute, both black colleges, and $1,000,000 for the war effort.79 By the 1930s, it was estimated that they gave away a total of around $75,000,000 to $100,000,000 for various purposes.80 Kodak expanded its giving into the arenas of international affairs throughout the 1950s. They sponsored a 3,500 member Rochester committee for the United Nations that Eastman Kodak personnel invested time, money, and talent.81 Kodak became the gem of Rochester for its generous community initiatives.

Kodak’s keen maneuvering placed the company at the apex of socio-economic power structure in Rochester by the mid 1960s. Generous donations to the city bought the hearts and minds of Rochester. Plentiful job opportunities at Kodak bolstered the local economy. It seemed as though Kodak could do no wrong, which made the FIGHT-Kodak labor dispute that more astonishing to outside observers.

The Industrial Areas Foundation Challenges Kodak

This case study seeks to illuminate that past historical influences on the IAF’s organizational structure prepared the organization for effective action against corporate America. The IAF’s intentional decisions to choose politically loyal financial backers, develop indigenous community leaders, and employ innovative tactics such as shareholder activism reaped benefits in their fight against Kodak. Due to this meticulous organizational planning, the IAF positioned itself to substantially challenge Kodak in its thinking concerning the company’s local responsibility to all the citizens of Rochester. Although Kodak was held in high esteem, the IAF’s responsibility was to meet the interests of its members despite the illustriousness of an institution. The black community members of Rochester had interests that conflicted with this highly regarded local institution, but from the perspective of the neighborhood organizer, these interests must be decided in favor of the people. Unfortunately, local neighborhood groups had little control over the issues that were presented before them. They usually do not have control over the financial and political resources in their respective communities, so their only advantage was literally the ‘power of the people.’ And the Industrial Areas Foundation’s mustering of people power in Rochester throughout the 1960s was as good as it gets.

Rochester, New York, endured a long, hot summer in 1964. It was a summer marked by rioting and violence as racial tensions boiled over. By the end of it, four people were dead, hundreds injured, a thousand arrested, and property damage exceeded one million dollars. The excessive racial violence came as a surprise to those who were familiar with Rochester because it was known as a proud city. It took pride in its tradition of abundant, locally provided social services, proud of its reputation as a clean, progressive community.82 Many Rochesterites were lost in finding an explanation for their sudden troubles although some had no trouble with spotting the problem. For example, one civic leader went so far as saying that Rochester has “become a victim of its own generosity” because the city was known as having a “soft touch for welfare and relief chiselers.” He continued by stating that the city’s welfare system was downtrodden by “a large influx of shiftless Negroes with no real desire to work for a living [and] whose main interest seems to be where the next bottle of booze is coming from.”83

This statement came at a time when an immense number of blacks poured into Rochester that shifted social dynamics around new civic demands. In 1950, the city consisted of only 8,000 blacks, but by 1966 this number skyrocketed to 35,000 blacks, which accounted for ten percent of the total population.84 Most of these blacks lived in the slums where available jobs were in construction or low-paying services. Eastman Kodak initially tried to recruit some black workers, but after the riot their policy changed. Kodak suffered from implicit racism that was embedded in its corporate culture because, as an industrial relations director stated to a New York Times reporter: “[Eastman Kodak] is not in the habit of hiring bodies. We need skills. We don’t grow many peanuts in Eastman Kodak.” This statement was a direct reference to the fact that many southern blacks worked peanut farms as sharecroppers. 85

After the volatile summer of 1964, the Protestant group known as the Rochester Area Council of Churches decided to take action in reconciling these bitter racial differences. They first brought in Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to ease the conditions of the poverty stricken black neighborhoods. After several weeks of grappling with this issue, the SCLC unexpectedly departed without any explanation, which presented the opportunity for the Council to invite Saul Alinsky and the Industrial Areas Foundation in 1965. When pressed as to why the council decided to invite the divisive Alinsky, they explained that there was no one else who was “available” and who they “had faith in.” The Council agreed to pay the IAF $50,000 a year for two years.

Upon Saul Alinsky’s arrival, there was great outcry by the residents of Rochester. Some people denounced him as a “hatemonger” and a “rabble rouser.” Rochester’s two Gannett owned newspapers “bitterly opposed” him. The local radio station told clergymen that they would have to pay for their air time on Sunday mornings. A settlement house voted to join FIGHT, but was quickly told by the Community Chest that its funds could not be used for that purpose, and immediately invited the Urban League to counteract the IAF’s efforts. This last element displayed the conflicting political and economic interests that working class citizens had with the city’s elite.

This was the backdrop that the IAF had to operate against as they sought to empower the local black community. These hasty actions taken by Rochester’s power structure amazed the black community. They had never seen the power structure “quake” that way.86 This made fertile ground for the IAF to set up the peaceful yet assertive Freedom, Integration, God, Honor-Today (FIGHT) to cope with this problem. Alinsky’s top organizer, Ed Chambers, who is white, arrived at the city in the spring of 1965. Before Chambers joined the IAF, he studied to become a Catholic priest in a seminary, but he was thrown out for asking too many questions. Since seminary school did not work out, he decided to move to New York and work with Dorothy Day, the kindred caretaker of the homeless, in Harlem at a tenant’s organization in the early fifties. His organizing efforts caught the attention of Saul Alinsky, who wanted to hire him as an organizer for the IAF. Chambers accepted his offer because he was familiar with Alinsky’s books and he considered the mission of the IAF to be “about change,” which appealed to him.

Chambers went to work right away. He knew that he entered a tense environment because people were on edge due to the arrival of Alinsky’s organization. Fear of organizing a black community never crossed Chambers’ mind because he had previous experiences organizing blacks in Chicago (The Woodlawn Organization) and New York (the tenant’s organization). According to Chambers, Alinsky chose him to be the lead organizer of FIGHT because he was the “best one [Alinsky] had” and Alinsky “did not want to do it” because he was “the celeb” and Chambers was simply the “hard worker.” Alinsky had minimal involvement in the actual organizing and he occasionally flew in from Chicago to stir things up a bit.

Earning the trust of the local blacks took some time for Chambers. Franklin Florence, a prominent black preacher in Rochester, became suspicious of him because he did not know if Chambers was a spy for the white community.87 Florence had his car tailed for the first two weeks on Friday and Saturday nights. It took about two months before Chambers gained the confidence of Florence, at which point they began a real relationship that continues to the present day. However, Chambers did receive a severe backlash from the white community. Some whites viewed him as an enemy for his work in the black community, and the Rochester police tailed his car for about two months as well.88

After the initial growing pains of relationship building during deeply racist times, Chambers’ organizing work began to prosper. On June 11, 1965, FIGHT adopted a constitution for the organization with the purpose of “unifying the Negro people in Rochester.”89 At the founding assembly, FIGHT established committees addressing issues of poverty, public safety, education, urban renewal, housing, credentials and membership, employment, and fund raising.90 In addition to addressing these larger issues, they wanted to change the composition of city officials in the city of Rochester. At the time of the founding, out of more than 1,235 positions available in city government, only 35 members were black.91

FIGHT elected its first president, the charismatic Reverend Franklin Florence who staunchly supported black causes. Most black nationalists held an anti-white sentiment during this turbulent period, and Rev. Florence concurred with this prevailing theme. Those who knew Rev. Florence described him as an “angry and articulate” black man who wore “a ‘Black Power’ button” and “reveres the memory of Malcolm X and is studiously rude to most whites.” Rev. Florence had a delicate relationship with Alinsky and Chambers who were both white. He resented the fact that he needed their help, but worked with them as long as they did not attempt to lead “a black man’s revolt.”

Alinsky and Chambers continued to actively build FIGHT’s power base. Alinsky quickly publicly denounced Rochester as “a Southern plantation transplanted to the North” in order to inflame the situation. Concerning FIGHT’s strategic tactics, Chambers said the city “expected conflict so we changed our tactics” because “sometimes the threat of a demonstration is worse than the reality,” and he continued by stating that it is “like telling your wife you’re going to leave her.” They did the quiet day to day, door to door activities of building an organization. FIGHT held 100 community groups as member ranging from churches to block clubs to pool halls and barber shops. In 1965, 1,500 people attended their convention where FIGHT adopted its constitution. Others suggested another reason for FIGHT’s slow strategy. They believed that FIGHT had no visible villain. They did not have anyone like Birmingham’s former police commissioner Bull Conner to serve as an obvious symbol of racial oppression.

Initially, Rochester maintained an open-door policy towards FIGHT. When FIGHT submitted a complaint about poor housing or police brutality, they received a timely hearing. Some pundits opined that Rochester was “killing FIGHT with their kindness.” Chambers responded to this observation by stating that the “enemy is more sophisticated” so they had to implement different tactics. Alinsky pointed out that other cities were attempting the same strategy: “I was going to Detroit and [Mayor Jerome P. Cavanagh] invited me to meet with him. He said we had a lot in common. Blah, blah, blah. He was making concessions before I got out of the damn airport.”92

FIGHT accomplished much in its inaugural eighteen months. Their biggest victory was helping to establish a $28 million urban renewal project on the city’s Third Ward. Blacks feared they would be removed from their homes without any provision for their futures, which happened in a previous project in Rochester during the 1950s. FIGHT responded by pushing City Hall to provide low-rise public housing before demolition. Urban renewal officials quickly said that they would have made these provisions, but FIGHT simply “forced us to be more specific.” FIGHT did not stop with the urban renewal project.

Their next target was a local “war on poverty” program called ABC. Alinsky was not fond of the federal “war on poverty” program. He believed that it was “faulty in conception” and “cynical in execution.” He thought their main misconception was the assumption that “the poor [could] ever make significant gains without fighting for them.” Alinsky did not have an admirer of his work in the program’s chief, Sargent Shriver. Alinsky once declared that the “war on poverty” was “a prize piece of political pornography” because it was a “huge political pork barrel, and a feeding trough for the welfare industry.” A reporter later interviewed Shriver and asked about Alinsky. In a rare moment of Shriver losing his temper he retorted: “That man - that man - that man called me a pornographer!”

FIGHT began harassing ABC because this anti-poverty program did not represent the poor in the eyes of its leaders. First, FIGHT demanded for the right to attend ABC’s meetings. Then they wanted to speak at these meetings. Next, they insisted that they have six members on the board (they received three). This was a microcosm of the Alinsky strategy. Once they met one demand, they quickly presented another. It turned out that killing the IAF with kindness was not so easy.

Reflecting on FIGHT’s success, Ed Chambers stated that “we subjected them to constant harassment” and they realized that FIGHT was “here to stay.” ABC gave FIGHT a $65,000 Federal anti-poverty grant to train 100 blacks in order to pass the civil service exams. FIGHT’s enemies used this grant as an opportunity to whisper that they sold out to city hall. Franklin Florence laughed at this notion by saying “we’re not looking for money” because “we’re looking for independence.”93 Florence’s sentiment illustrates the point that FIGHT’s ultimate goal was political independence to address the needs of the urban black poor.

While respecting the distrust that FIGHT leadership had with whites, Alinsky and Chambers wisely observed that blacks needed white allies to be effective so they created the “separate but not quite equal” group called Friends of FIGHT. The group started as a result of sympathetic white women wanting to volunteer for FIGHT. Since white people could not directly work in a black power organization, Chambers suggested, “Why don’t you get the goodwill whites together and get Friends of FIGHT, get your own organization?”94 And they did just that. Friends of FIGHT desired to achieve “democracy for all” and to give “support, cooperation, and assistance by whatever means are appropriate” to FIGHT.95 This group provided essentials such as money, legal expertise, and tutors for the FIGHT programs. The Rev. Herbert White, a young clergyman who helped to bring Alinsky to Rochester noticed an increase in social action by his fellow clergymen. He told a newspaper that he thought Rochester was “a hell of a lot better town because of Alinsky” and to “do justice to Alinsky and his program you have to look beyond its program to a new spirit that exists in many here.” With all of Alinsky’s accomplishments, a man who loved to be hated had to realize that in an era of “black power” and “irresponsible calls to racial violence” he was beginning to “look like a pretty solid citizen.”96

In an effort to deal with the unemployment problem they first approached Xerox with the proposal of an on-the-job training program. They targeted Xerox first because FIGHT realized that they needed to establish some white allies in the business community before going after the kingpin in Kodak. This strategy could work because Xerox would give FIGHT leverage and help to “fight white power with white power.” Chambers believed that this approach was a sophisticated development for Rochester’s black community because they would realize that all white communities were not the same.97 It turned out that Xerox was more willing to change its hiring practices as they decided to hire and train about fifteen unemployed young blacks with limited skills and experience.98 By September of 1966, FIGHT used its credential of Xerox to negotiate with Kodak for recruitment, training, and the hiring of 600 blacks. They chose Kodak because at the time it was estimated that one in every three employed in industry in Rochester worked for Kodak. Kodak’s influence clearly permeated civic and private life. Despite such local prominence, Kodak only employed 750 blacks out of 40,000 employees.99 This unprecedented maneuver to hold Kodak accountable never happened due to Kodak’s progressive reputation, but as Rev. Florence said, “We knew if we could get Kodak in line, every other business would follow.”100 FIGHT grew into a formidable organization at the time of their request as they consisted of 105 churches, fraternities, block clubs, civil rights groups, small businesses, pool halls, barbershops and youth groups.101

FIGHT wanted Kodak to train these unemployed blacks in basics such as arithmetic and reading to help the downtrodden poor to obtain remedial jobs at Kodak. As Rev. Florence put it, “We’re not talking about the man who can compete [rather] we’re talking about the down-and-out, the man crushed by this evil system, the man emasculated, who can’t make it on his own. He has a right to work.” FIGHT argued that Kodak historically ignored Rochester’s black workers by hiring whites from other communities. Therefore, FIGHT said Kodak had a social responsibility to give favored treatment to blacks regardless of the expense because “if Kodak can take pictures of the Moon” then they can “create 500 jobs for [black] people.”

Kodak’s shrewd President William Vaughn did not expressly turn down FIGHT’s proposal at the first meeting, and agreed to further talks because he claimed to recognize the grave social problems blacks faced. At a second meeting on September14, 1966, FIGHT presented Vaughn with a written proposal. He distributed a statement that outlined Kodak’s plans for the training program and invited FIGHT to refer possible applicants. After the distribution of this statement, Vaughn delegated responsibilities of future discussions of this issue to Kenneth Howard of the industrial relations department. This was the same department whose director in 1964 said that “we don’t grow many peanuts in Eastman Kodak” in referring to why Kodak should not be obligated to hire unskilled blacks.102

Representatives of Kodak and FIGHT met twice again in September, but the meetings never substantiated. Letters went back and forth between Kodak and FIGHT, but neither side agreed on what previously occurred. FIGHT wanted to discuss only the proposal while Kodak wanted FIGHT to cooperate with their policy, as other organizations did, by referring candidates to the company’s training program for the unskilled and uneducated. The previous spring, Kodak issued a letter to management which emphasized the change in hiring practices. The letter stated that Kodak’s previous policy was to “employ the person best fitted to do the work” but that they have “moved actively beyond that position” and now they seek to “help the individual who lacks the necessary qualifications to become qualified.” The letter developed by outlining several special programs that Kodak controlled that attempted to address this need. However, FIGHT contended that the programs were not sufficient for addressing the serious employment problems of Rochester.103 As both sides quickly stalemated, the tense negotiations were captured in the local press.104 This provided additional pressure on both organizations to get a deal done soon. But talks steadily aggravated because the FIGHT representatives did not trust Howard. Rev. Florence had a knack for sensing when a white man was uncomfortable in his presence, and he did not respect a man who seemed to be afraid of him. Moreover, some thought that non-union Kodak was not accustomed to bargaining with another labor power organization.105

Tensions continued to flare in October of 1966 when Alinsky accused Kodak of playing a “con game” in the media as Kodak hired the Board of Fundamental Education to help expand its remedial education program.106 This program enrolled 100 people, but the trainees were pre-selected. Sixty of them were recent hires by Kodak and forty were regular employees. In another company letter Kodak stated its position that they “cannot enter into an arrangement exclusively with any organization for employment” for it would be unfair to “thousands of people who apply on their own initiative.”107 Rev. Florence disagreed. He told a meeting of FIGHT’s delegates that more and larger protests would be sent to Kodak until the company “wakes up and comes into the twentieth century.”108

During a press conference, Saul Alinsky leaned upon his sociological training to analyze the FIGHT-Kodak conflict through the lenses of “black power.” He said the expression “black power,” which FIGHT was fond of using, touched so many nerves because “black is synonymous with evil” as in “blackguard,” “blacklist,” and “black tragedy.” Put the words “black” with “power,” the phrase constitutes a “verbal bomb” according to Alinsky. Alinsky stated that “black power,” which he defines as the ability to act, does not necessarily mean violence as long as “people are organized and have power and are involved in the give and take of the democratic process.”109

Negotiations finally resumed in December of 1966 as a result of a luncheon conversation between John G. Mulder, a Kodak assistant vice president, and his acquaintance, the Rev. Marvin Chandler, who was an official of FIGHT. Rev. Chandler told Mulder that FIGHT would prefer a new negotiating team and they further discussed the matter at an unannounced meeting in Kodak’s boardroom. Vaughn hoped that a new deal would occur so he secretly gave Mulder the go-ahead to meet with FIGHT representatives. Kodak hoped to deal with the congenial Rev. Chandler at the discussions, but received the combustible Rev. Florence, and on December 20, he and Mulder signed a joint statement saying that both sides agreed to “an objective of the recruitment and referral of 600 unemployed people over a 24-month period, barring unforeseen economic changes affecting the Rochester community.”110

FIGHT initially viewed this agreement as a victory. The black community celebrated and FIGHT’s chief negotiators held a house party.111 Unfortunately, Kodak’s president-elect, Louis Eilers, crashed FIGHT’s party upon hearing the report. Eilers burst into rage after hearing about the signing because Kodak management did not want to enter into an exclusive deal with any organization and commit to the hiring and training of a specific amount of people.112 The next morning Kodak repudiated the agreement and Eilers told reporters that Mulder had no authority to sign the agreement on Kodak’s behalf. He told reporters that FIGHT’s “talk of employment” was a “screen” for “making a power drive in this community.” Kodak released a statement that said FIGHT’s characterized FIGHT’s demands as “arbitrary and unreasonable” and that FIGHT has not “sent anyone to apply for work.”113 Florence contested that they thought they would meet with Eilers, but Kodak “sent in a group of janitors” instead.114 Mulder did not receive a job demotion as a result of his actions, and he went to Rev. Chandler’s home to personally break the news to him.115

This news quickly dismayed FIGHT’s leadership. Chambers called Florence over to his house. Florence was in a raging fit as he exclaimed, “You can’t trust them it was all a trick. They set us up like this and made fools of us on television. I’m gonna quit.” Chambers calmed Florence, a non alcoholic drinker, down by spiking his Coca-Cola with some bourbon. They planned an emergency meeting the next morning where about 250 people attended.116 Rev. Florence exclaimed that Kodak has “shown they’re no good and deceitful” and concluded by saying that there are “hard-line people” inside of Kodak “who don’t care a thing about partnership with the poor.”117

FIGHT attempted to build alliances with other militant black organizations in support of their cause. One such organization was the Jomo Freedom Kenyatta House.118 Lewis G. Robinson, director of the Jomo Freedom Kenyatta House, and Florence met at the Black Power Conference in Washington D.C. the previous Labor Day. Jomo Freedom Kenyatta House had experience in fighting against big companies because they won a labor battle with General Motors in 1963.119 Thus, they were a logical ally for FIGHT in the Kodak dispute.

Tensions brewed over on both sides of the dispute as a result of Kodak reneging on the agreement. A January 7, 1967, article in the New York Times stated that since the “Alinsky forces were brought to Rochester [FIGHT has] run a continuing war against numerous Rochester institutions that help build Rochester” and Kodak’s turn came as a “savage attack has been directed at [Kodak].” Eilers charged that FIGHT tried to gain an exclusive hold on 600 jobs and he pointed out that Kodak had between 1,200 and 1,500 blacks as employees at its Rochester location.120

As the Kodak-FIGHT conflict escalated, the community became increasingly divided. Rochester accomplished far more in terms of black employment than many places throughout the country, but the large influx of unskilled and uneducated Southern blacks erased these gains. Black employment in the city rose 43 percent (more than four times the national average), but there was a 46 percent rise in the black population for working age people.121 At the beginning of 1967 there were 10,000 job openings listed in the Rochester area, but 75 percent of these jobs required at least a high school education and 54 percent of the unemployed black males had only a ninth grade education or lower. The community was split in its reaction to the FIGHT-Kodak conflict especially since a few years prior they suffered a searing race riot. A number of Kodak’s employees were members of Friends of FIGHT and there were rumors of an ideological split within the company itself. For weeks, sermons for and against FIGHT and the Council of Churches were heard at Sunday services. In the midst of these trying times the president of the Council of Churches (a Kodak employee) and two members of the board of directors resigned in protest to its support of FIGHT. However, the Council eased this loss in leadership by gaining a key ally in Fulton J. Sheen, the appointed bishop of the Rochester Catholic diocese, and he consequently named a highly vocal FIGHT supporter and Kodak critic as his special vicar to minister to the city’s poor. On the national level representatives of the National Council of Churches, the United Presbyterian Church, and the United Church of Christ came out in support of FIGHT.122

Within the black community there were mixed reactions to FIGHT’s aggressive tactics. Laplois Ashford, the head of the local Urban League, attacked Rev. Florence’s “irresponsibility” and questioned whether FIGHT should represent the poor black people in the Rochester community, and whether someone should be “chastised as a traitor if he does not necessarily follow the FIGHT philosophy as projected by Minister Florence.”123 Overall, most citizens of the city wanted to see the conflict come to an end.124

During the contentious winter of 1967, Rev. Florence did nothing to make peace. He inflamed tensions with his determination to bind Kodak to the signed agreement. In January, he invited Stokely Carmichael to speak at a FIGHT rally. Carmichael promised that a national boycott would take place that would bring Kodak to its knees. He predicted that when FIGHT was through with the conflict they would be able to say “’jump’ and Kodak will ask ‘how high?’” Rev. Florence then sent a vehement telegram to Kodak’s president, warning: “The cold of February will give way to the warm of spring, and eventually to the long hot summer. What will happen in Rochester in the summer of 1967 is at the doorstep of the Eastman Kodak Company” and he then promised that Kodak “will be hearing from [FIGHT], and it won’t be in black and white.” This type of talk by Florence made some churchmen “want to withdraw support from FIGHT.”125

In order to maintain its ultimatum FIGHT needed to employ new tactics to counteract the power of Kodak. FIGHT developed a new and creative tactic called a ‘stock proxy’. Chambers realized that in order to get inside of the meeting they needed to be shareholders.126 So FIGHT purchased ten shares of stock from Kodak, and Chambers purchased two for Alinsky and himself. FIGHT extended the stock proxy campaign by getting churches to vote their shares in favor of FIGHT. By the time of the annual meeting on April 25, 1967, FIGHT was able to have one Unitarian and four major Protestant denominations withhold their proxies, which totaled about 40,000 shares, from Kodak’s management.127

It is possible that this was the first case of shareholder activism in American organizing history. There have been cases when community groups held corporations accountable using other means. For example, in 1964 the Congress of Racial Equality forced the Bank of America to increase the number of black employees in its California branches. They used the tactic of a “bank-in” where they intentionally created long lines for service in order to slow down regular bank operations.128 However, they relied on conventional organizing tactics to achieve their goal, they did not utilize the fundamental business practice of shareholder voting rights to leverage power. On the other hand, cases of shareholder activism emerged after the Kodak-FIGHT dispute. A year after FIGHT disrupted the 1967 annual meeting, protestors used shareholder activism in 1968 to pressure the Dow Chemical Company to stop manufacturing napalm and Agent Orange for the Vietnam War.129

Now that FIGHT gained support through the stock proxy campaign, they needed to plan for the sequence of events during the shareholders’ meeting. This plan became known as “Focus on Flemington.” This was an interfaith and interracial effort of about ninety clergymen who pledged support of FIGHT at the meeting in Flemington, New Jersey, about 600 miles away from Rochester.130 According to Chambers, Kodak held its annual meeting there to make it harder for outside people to attend it. FIGHT had to arrange for forty to forty-five buses to transport a thousand people down to Flemington.131 On the day of the meeting, FIGHT had the ten person delegation attend the meeting with hundreds of demonstrators outside of the meeting while they received media coverage.132 These demonstrators came by the bus load from places such as Cornell, Princeton, Yale, and Dartmouth colleges and about one hundred nervous state troopers were placed in reserve for local police and Kodak guardsmen. This potentially volatile scene resulted in no incidents. Inside the meeting, Florence stood on his feet as soon as William Vaughn, chairman of the board of Kodak, struck his gavel. To a chorus of boos and shouts of “throw him out” and “here comes the niggers,” Florence shouted, “we will give you until 2 o’clock to honor that agreement” and abruptly left the meeting. Alinsky addressed the boisterous gathering and stated that FIGHT was ready to move on a “national scale” and that FIGHT would be the “fountainhead for the resurrection of the civil rights movement.”133 Kodak and FIGHT still did not reach an immediate agreement, but it did set a new precedent in tactical strategy against multinational corporations.134

In the aftermath of the highly fiery shareholders’ meeting, both sides immediately launched a public relations campaign to prove the validity of their viewpoint. FIGHT increased its demand to 2,000 jobs for blacks, and Saul Alinsky purported “The battle will be in Eastman Kodak’s arena - the nation from Harlem to Watts.” Rev. Florence declared that “this is war – and I state again – war.” He continued by telling 600 demonstrators that “racial war has been declared [by] Eastman Kodak” which proved that “powerful companies can’t be trusted.” Vaughn reasoned that Kodak refused to honor the 20 December agreement because it was unauthorized. He said that in Mulder’s “overzealousness to resolve the controversy, Mr. Mulder put his name to a document prepared by FIGHT.” Kodak even hired an African American public relations firm that specializes in “ethnic marketing.” When Rev. Florence heard about this new deal, he quickly told the papers that he was glad that Kodak could “sign contracts with Negro firms specializing in face saving.”135 Some time after the dispute was settled the president eventually quipped that looking back he believed he “used too much patience.”136

The media blitz did reach the attention of Kodak’s European business associates. This was not good for Kodak as its affiliates in Germany did not approve of the poor treatment of dark skinned people. However, this did significantly bolster FIGHT’s efforts since Germany’s reaction made the dispute bigger than Rochester.137

The political pressure cooker that Kodak and FIGHT were embroiled in tested the commitment of FIGHT’s financial supporters. Some white churchmen who provided funding for FIGHT received threatening phone calls. Other churches received noticeably less contributions in their tithing plates. Despite these significant challenges, they continued their staunch faith and support in FIGHT’s mission.138 This suggests that a financiers’ politics must unwaveringly align with that of the neighborhood organization.

Two months later in June, Kodak and FIGHT began to seek a conclusion to this drawn out dispute. Kodak made the first move by calling in the seasoned Daniel P. Moynihan, the director of the joint Center for Urban Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, and a former Assistant Secretary of Labor. He met separately with FIGHT and Kodak before bringing both sides together in an effort to reach settlement.139 Finally, after years of struggle an accord emerged with both sides as winners. FIGHT kept its pride intact and Kodak lost none of its prerogatives. The agreement stated that Kodak recognized FIGHT was the voice of the poor black population, and the company agreed to send interviewers into the city’s slums alongside FIGHT representatives. Kodak would also meet with FIGHT officials to discuss the economic problems of the city’s slums. Kodak never agreed to a quota of black poor to hire, these decisions would be left up to Kodak management.140

The Eastman Kodak and FIGHT dispute pushed the IAF to its tactical limits because this was the first time that someone held a multinational business accountable through shareholder activism. In the words of Ed Chambers, this was the first time “ordinary people” took the initiative and “busted up an annual meeting of corporate America.”141 This conflict suggests that the IAF’s strategy of selecting its funders based on concurrent political viewpoints in effect legitimized the organization to its constituents. If corporate interests funded the IAF it would be likely that they would have pulled their funding out of the IAF, especially as the dispute became a national issue that was directly against corporate interests. Since the IAF received funds by political allies they assisted them in their action. This point is illustrated by the revolutionary strategy of divestment by Catholic and Protestant churches that staunchly supported the IAF’s mission and pulled out 40,000 shares of stock although Kodak was a profitable company.

Conclusion

The Industrial Areas Foundation carefully crafted its organizational structure based on past organizing efforts in order to more effectively mobilize citizens against big businesses. The IAF demonstrated that a well organized and resourceful minority can win valuable victories in its favor. The IAF displayed three important elements that allowed it to effectively extract concessions from large businesses: establishing loyal financers to start up broad based organizations, allowing for these broad based organizations to become self-sustaining through indigenous leadership, and innovative organizing tactics.

The IAF’s cautious selection of its funders gave the organization much needed financial freedom from big business. They managed to find proven philanthropic allies who would not simply back down in the face of corporate interests. This is a lesson that the IAF received from the Cincinnati Social Unit Project, whose financial backers bailed on them in the midst of hard times. Thus, the IAF could not receive funds directly from big businesses because it became a conflict of interests. Moreover, the IAF understood that real power is achieved from complete citizen participation, which meant that these people organizations would eventually have to become financially self-sustaining. This goal was fulfilled through the dues paid by the organization’s membership.

Industrial Areas Foundation’s organizers intentionally acted as outside catalyst so that indigenous community leadership could shape the organization. Since the IAF desired total citizen control of an organization, they had to discover and develop leaders who were capable of inspiring leadership out of others. This can be exemplified by Ed Chambers’ role throughout the FIGHT-Kodak case study. He had to find leaders such as Franklin Florence and provide the guidance for these leaders to successfully build a power organization. In effect, these citizen controlled power organizations renewed the dignity of the whole community since previously disenfranchised people now had a vehicle to direct their collective destiny.

The IAF developed innovative strategies for success against big businesses. They carefully assessed the power dynamics within a given situation and formulated the best tactics to manipulate these power relationships in their favor. In the case study, the IAF used the business practice of shareholders’ voting rights to their advantage by pressuring sympathetic churches to threaten divestment out of Kodak, and FIGHT purchased shares in Kodak in order to disrupt an annual shareholder’s meeting. Alinsky’s exposure to the Congress of Industrial Organizations’ tactics during the packinghouse strikes in Chicago influenced the way future IAF organizers dealt with businesses.

This thesis provides several opportunities for future scholarship. This project showed that the IAF forced corporations to be more responsive to community interests. However, business has become increasingly global in the modern era as issues such as outsourcing of jobs overseas are now much more pressing. Globalization has uplifted the local roots of many companies as they now find themselves as amorphous entities with interests throughout the world and very little sense of loyalty to any particular community. Much of the business world is dominated by these large corporations as local stores have been relegated to a small support role in the economy. The saturation of multinationals in the global economy presents a unique opportunity for academics to explore further questions such as the following: Do corporations seek to incorporate the help of neighborhood organizations in their quest to become better corporate citizens? Have politicians leaned more on the support of local neighborhood groups or large multinationals in their social and economic revitalization plans? How has neighbor organizing strategy historically been tied with the strategies of big businesses? These are pertinent questions that future researchers can explore.

Bibliography

Secondary Sources

Agnew, Jean-Christophe and ROY Rosenzweig, A Companion to Post-1945 America. Blackwell Publishing Company, 2002.

Betten, Neil and Michael J. Austin, The Roots of Community Organizing, 1917-1939. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990.

Blackford, Mansel G. and Austin K. Kerr, Business Enterprise in American History. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994.

Collins, Douglas, The Story of Kodak. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990.

Fisher, Robert, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America Boston: G. K. Hall & Company, 1984.

Horwitt, Sanford D., Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Klehr, Harvey, The Heyday of American Communism, The Great Depression Decade. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1984

Lamoreaux, Naomi R. The Great Merger Movement in American Business, 1895-1904. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985

Lipartito, Kenneth and David B. Sicilia, Constructing Corporate America, History, Politics, Culture. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2004.

McCraw, Thomas K., American Business, 1920-2000: How It Worked. Wheeling, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 2000).

Salomon, Larry R. Stories of Organizing in Communities of Color, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998.

Sheridan, Frances and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT. Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967.

West, Nancy Martha, Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia. University Press of Virginia, 2000.

Primary Sources

Published Works

Alinsky Defends ‘Black Power’, Rochester Times-Union, October 24, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Anderson, Patrick, “Making Trouble is Alinsky’s Business,” The New York Times, Oct 9, 1966, pg SM15.

“Behind the Slogans She Saw the Dream in Men’s Hearts”, The New York Times, January 20, 1952.

Budenz, Louis F. “Chicago’s Bishop Sheil Gives Aid to Democratic Camp by Plea for Unions and Unity,” The Daily Record, Tuesday, August 1, 1939, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

M’Laughlin, Kathleen, “Business and U.N. Silent Partners,” The New York Times, April 20, 1958.

Chenery, William L. “Philanthropy Under a Bushel,” The New York Times, March 21, 1920.

CIO Considers Farm Interests,” The Daily Record, Wednesday, August 2, 1939, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

CIO Packinghouse Workers Strike for Higher Wages,” The Daily Record, March 17, 1940, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Daily Chicago Defender, 15 April, 1963. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Dissolve, Is Order To Kodak Company,” The New York Times, August 25, 1915.

Dissolves Kodak Company,” The New York Times, February 2, 1921.

Eastmans Buy Land in Toronto, Perhaps To Avoid Sherman Law,” The New York Times, January 9, 1914.

Eastman Charted Path for Industry,” The New York Times, March 15, 1932.

For the Sake of Good,” La Herrera, May, 2003.

Government Sues the Kodak Trust,” The New York Times, June 10, 1913.

FIGHT Vows New Push for Kodak Jobs,” Rochester Democrat, October 26, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Kodak Job Plan Rejected,” The New York Times, Jan. 11, 1967.

Kifner, John, “Critics Assailed by Head of Kodak,” The New York Times, Jan. 7, 1967.

Kifner, John, “Kodak Holds Its Meeting Amid Racial Protests,” The New York Times, Apr 26, 1967, pg. 49.

Kifner, John, “Negro Ad Agency Hired by Kodak,” The New York Times, Apr 28, 1967, pg. 46.

Kodak Reviews Record on Job Talks with FIGHT,” Rochester Times-Union, September 21, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

OK Armour Strike Move,” The Daily Record, Monday, July 17, 1939, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Moody’s Investor Service, Moody’s Handbook of Widely Held Common Stocks. New York: 1956.

Moody’s Investor Service, Moody’s Handbook of Widely Held Common Stocks. New York: 1969.

Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1920, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135. New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981.

Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1935, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135. New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981.

Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1945, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135. New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981.

Packing Union Signs Armour’s Pact; Pay Hiked,” The Chicago Tribune, December 20, 1946.

The Doctrine of Love in Rochester,” Chicago Tribune, Apr 16, 1967, pg 28.

The Tough Line on Poverty,” The United Church Observer, February 15, 1966, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

TWO’s Two-Fisted War on Chicago Slum,” The National Observer, November 26, 1962, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

“Woodlawn Begins,” Presbyterian Life A Journal of Protestant Christianity, September 13, 1962, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Zullo, Joseph, “Kodak, Negro Group Agree on Hiring Plan,” Chicago Tribune, June 24, 1967, pg. 11.

Unpublished Works

1st Annual FIGHT Convention, FIGHT’s Policy and Issues, June 11, 1965, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

11/1/51 to 10/31/52 auditor’s report for the Industrial Areas Foundation, October 31, 1952, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Adolf Hirsch to Saul Alinsky, 28 January, 1952. Letter in the hand of Saul Alinsky. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Catholic Leadership by Saul Alinsky, September 28, 1942, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Chicago’s Woodlawn, May 1962, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Constitution of Friends of FIGHT, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Eastman Kodak Announces Program with Board for Fundamental Education, October 24, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT.

FIGHT Constitution, June 11, 1965, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

FIGHT-Eastman Kodak Issue, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

FIGHT press release, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Franklin Florence, President of FIGHT, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Fred Ross to Carl Tjernadsen, 15 October, 1963. Letter in the hand of Carl Tjernadsen. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Grants to the Industrial Areas Foundation, ca. 1961, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL. http://comm-org.wisc.edu/papers2003/tjerandsen/contentsd.htm#about

Industrial Areas Foundation Annual Budget, ca. 1950s. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Industrial Areas Foundation 1951 annual report, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Letter to Kodak from FIGHT, September 14, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Letter to Kodak Supervisors from the Eastman Kodak Company, November 15, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Letter to Rev. Franklin Florence from Lewis G. Robinson, December 6, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Letter to Saul Alinsky from Edward E. Clarke, August 8, 1942, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Letter to Saul Alinsky from Elmer Gertz, November 28, 1945, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Letter to Saul Alinsky from Frederic M. Thrasher, November 12, 1943, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Letter to Saul Alinsky from Harry J. Walker, December 10, 1945, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Letter to Saul Alinsky from John O’Grady, August 8, 1942, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Letter to Saul Alinsky from William F. Bryon, April 30, 1943, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

People protesting Kodak’s hiring practices outside of the Kodak annual shareholder’s meeting, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Saul Alinsky speaking to supporters outside of the Kodak annual shareholders’ meeting, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Saul Alinsky to Adolf Hirsch, 17 January, 1952. Letter in the hand of Adolf Hirsch. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Saul Alinsky to Leo Gerngross, 22 April, 1953. Letter in the hand of Leo Gerngross. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Saul Alinsky to Leo Gerngross, 8 May, 1955. Letter in the hand of Leo Gerngross. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Notes

1 Robert Fisher, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America (Boston: G. K. Hall & Company, 1984), 2-3.

2 (Fisher 1984, 20)

3 Neil Betten and Michael J. Austin, The Roots of Community Organizing, 1917-1939 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990), 77.

4 Robert Fisher, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America (Boston: G. K. Hall & Company, 1984), 13.

5 Neil Betten and Michael J. Austin, The Roots of Community Organizing, 1917-1939 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990), 79-80.

6 (Betten and Austin 1990, 54-55)

7 (Betten and Austin 1990, 75)

8 Robert Fisher, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America (Boston: G. K. Hall & Company, 1984), 21.

9 (Fisher 1984, 25)

10 (Fisher 1984, 30)

11 (Fisher 1984, 32-34)

12 Robert H. Zieger, The CIO, 1935-1955 (University of North Carolina Press, 1995), 29.

13 (Zieger 1995, 24)

14 (Zieger 1995, 39)

15 (Zieger 1995, 42)

16 Harvey Klehr, The Heyday of American Communism, The Great Depression Decade, (New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1984), 49.

17 (Klehr 1984, 50)

18 (Klehr 1984, 66)

19 (Klehr 1984, 68)

20 Robert Fisher, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America (Boston: G. K. Hall & Company, 1984), 51-52.

21 Neil Betten and Michael J. Austin, The Roots of Community Organizing, 1917-1939 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990), 162-164.

22 (Betten and Austin 1990, 164-165)

23 (Betten and Austin 1990, 167)

24 (Betten and Austin 1990, 178)

25 Robert Fisher, Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America (Boston: G. K. Hall & Company, 1984), 51-52

26 Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) 104.

27 OK Armour Strike Move, The Daily Record, Monday, July 17, 1939, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

28Louis F. Budenz, Chicago’s Bishop Sheil Gives Aid to Democratic Camp by Plea for Unions and Unity, The Daily Record, Tuesday, August 1, 1939, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

29 Louis F. Budenz, Chicago’s Bishop Sheil Gives Aid to Democratic Camp by Plea for Unions and Unity, The Daily Record, Tuesday, August 1, 1939, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

30 CIO Considers Farm Interests, The Daily Record, Wednesday, August 2, 1939, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

31 CIO Packinghouse Workers Strike for Higher Wages, The Daily Record, March 17, 1940, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

32 Packing Union Signs Armour’s Pact; Pay Hiked, The Chicago Tribune, December 20, 1946.

33 Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) 103.

34 (Horwitt, 186-88)

35 Letter to Saul Alinsky from John O’Grady, August 8, 1942, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

36 Catholic Leadership by Saul Alinsky, September 28, 1942, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

37 Letter to Saul Alinsky from William F. Bryon, April 30, 1943, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

38 Letter to Saul Alinsky from Frederic M. Thrasher, November 12, 1943, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

39 Letter to Saul Alinsky from Edward E. Clarke, August 8, 1942, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

40 Letter to Saul Alinsky from Elmer Gertz, November 28, 1945, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

41 Letter to Saul Alinsky from Harry J. Walker, December 10, 1945, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

42 Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) 223-228.

43 For the Sake of Good, La Herrera, May, 2003.

44 11/1/51 to 10/31/52 auditor’s report for the Industrial Areas Foundation, October 31, 1952, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

45 Industrial Areas Foundation 1951 Annual Report, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

46 11/1/51 to 10/31/52 auditor’s report for the Industrial Areas Foundation, October 31, 1952, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

47 Industrial Areas Foundation 1951 Annual Report, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

48 Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) 103.

49 Saul Alinsky to Leo Gerngross, 22 April, 1953. Letter in the hand of Leo Gerngross. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

50 Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) 276-77; 305.

51 (Horwitt, 305)

52 http://comm-org.wisc.edu/papers2003/tjerandsen/contentsd.htm#about

53 Saul Alinsky to Leo Gerngross, 8 May, 1955. Letter in the hand of Leo Gerngross. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

54 Saul Alinsky to Adolf Hirsch, 17 January, 1952. Letter in the hand of Adolf Hirsch. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

55 Adolf Hirsch to Saul Alinsky, 28 January, 1952. Letter in the hand of Saul Alinsky. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

56 Chicago’s Woodlawn, May 1962, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

57 Grants to the Industrial Areas Foundation, ca. 1961, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

58 Chicago’s Woodlawn, May 1962, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

59 TWO’s Two-Fisted War on Chicago Slum, The National Observer, November 26, 1962, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

60 Woodlawn Begins, Presbyterian Life A Journal of Protestant Christianity, September 13, 1962, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

61 The Tough Line on Poverty, The United Church Observer, February 15, 1966, Richard Daley Library Special Collections, Industrial Areas Foundation, University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL.

62 Fred Ross to Carl Tjernadsen, 15 October, 1963. Letter in the hand of Carl Tjernadsen. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

63 Industrial Areas Foundation Annual Budget, ca. 1950s. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

64 Daily Chicago Defender, 15 April, 1963. Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Special Collections Research Center, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

65 Naomi R. Lamoreaux, The Great Merger Movement in American Business, 1895-1904, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pg. 159.

66 Moody’s Investor Service, Moody’s Handbook of Widely Held Common Stocks (New York: 1969), 136.

67 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1920, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 1370.

68 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1921, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 1512.

69 Collins, Douglas, The Story of Kodak (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990), 94.

70 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1921, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 1512.

71 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1941, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 1966.

Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1965, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 517.

72 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1921, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 1511.

73 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1941, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 1966.

74 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1965, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 517.

75 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1921, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 1511.

76 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1931, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 1303.

77 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1951, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 2611.

78 Moody’s Manual of Industrial Securities – 1965, Moody’s Manuals on Microfiche, 1909 to Present, Series 135 (New York: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., 1981), 517.

79 William L. Chenery, Philanthropy Under a Bushel, The New York Times, March 21, 1920.

80 Eastman Charted Path for Industry, The New York Times, March 15, 1932.

81 Kathleen M’Laughlin, Business and U.N. Silent “Partners,” The New York Times, April 20, 1958.

82 Patrick Anderson, Making Trouble is Alinsky’s Business, The New York Times, Oct 9, 1966, pg SM15.

83 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 1.

84 Patrick Anderson, Making Trouble is Alinsky’s Business, The New York Times, Oct 9, 1966, pg SM15.

85 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 1-2.

86 Patrick Anderson, Making Trouble is Alinsky’s Business, The New York Times, Oct 9, 1966, pg SM15.

87 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT.

88 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT.

89 FIGHT Constitution, June 11, 1965, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

90 FIGHT Constitution, June 11, 1965, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

911st Annual FIGHT Convention, FIGHT’s Policy and Issues, June 11, 1965, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

92 Patrick Anderson, Making Trouble is Alinsky’s Business, The New York Times, Oct 9, 1966, pg SM15.

93 Patrick Anderson, Making Trouble is Alinsky’s Business, The New York Times, Oct 9, 1966, pg SM15.

94 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT

95 Constitution of Friends of FIGHT, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

96 Patrick Anderson, Making Trouble is Alinsky’s Business, The New York Times, Oct 9, 1966, pg SM15.

97 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT

98 Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) 489.

99 FIGHT-Eastman Kodak Issue, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

100 Patrick Anderson, Making Trouble is Alinsky’s Business, The New York Times, Oct 9, 1966, pg SM15.

101 FIGHT-Eastman Kodak Issue, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

102 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 1-2.

103 Letter to Kodak from FIGHT, September 14, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

104Kodak Reviews Record on Job Talks with FIGHT, Rochester Times-Union, September 21, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

105 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 7.

106 Eastman Kodak Announces Program with Board for Fundamental Education, Rochester Times-Union, October 24, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

107 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 8.

108 FIGHT Vows New Push for Kodak Jobs, Rochester Democrat, October 26, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

109 Alinsky Defends ‘Black Power’, Rochester Times-Union, October 24, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

110 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 9.

111 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT

112 Letter to Kodak Supervisors from the Eastman Kodak Company, November 15, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

113 John Kifner, Critics Assailed by Head of Kodak, The New York Times, Jan. 7, 1967.

114 Kodak Job Plan Rejected, The New York Times, Jan. 11, 1967.

115 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 9.

116 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT

117 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 9.

118 Letter to Rev. Franklin Florence from Lewis G. Robinson, December 6, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

119 Letter to Rev. Franklin Florence from Lewis G. Robinson, December 6, 1966, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

120 John Kifner, Critics Assailed by Head of Kodak, The New York Times, Jan. 7, 1967.

121 The Doctrine of Love in Rochester, Chicago Tribune, Apr 16, 1967, pg 28.

122 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 11.

123 The Doctrine of Love in Rochester, Chicago Tribune, Apr 16, 1967, pg 28.

124 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 11.

125 The Doctrine of Love in Rochester, Chicago Tribune, Apr 16, 1967, pg 28.

126 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT

127 Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) 495.

128 Larry R. Salomon, Stories of Organizing in Communities of Color, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998), pgs 56-57.

129 Kenneth Lipartito and David B. Sicilia, Constructing Corporate America, History, Politics, Culture (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2004), pgs. 200-201.

130 FIGHT press release, Rush Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

131 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT

132 Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) 496-97.

133 John Kifner, Kodak Holds Its Meeting Amid Racial Protests, The New York Times, Apr 26, 1967, pg 49.

Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT

134 Sanford D. Horwitt, Let Them Call Me Rebel, Saul Alinsky-His Life and Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) 502.

135 John Kifner, Negro Ad Agency Hired by Kodak, The New York Times, Apr 28, 1967, pg. 46.

136 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 12-13.

137 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT

138 John Kifner, Negro Ad Agency Hired by Kodak, The New York Times, Apr 28, 1967, pg. 46

139 Frances Sheridan and Howard Franklin Bennet, Eastman Kodak and FIGHT (Chicago: Northwestern University; distributed by the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House, Soldiers Field, Boston, 1967) 13-14.

140 Joseph Zullo, Kodak, Negro Group Agree on Hiring Plan, Chicago Tribune, June 24, 1967, pg. 11.

141 Edward Chambers (interview, June 19, 2006), current Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and lead organizer for FIGHT

 


Acknowledgments

No research is ever done alone. I have received much support in terms of funding and wise council in producing this senior honors thesis. I would like to honor these gracious gestures towards me and my work.

Professor Colleen Dunlavy of the history department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison played a significant role in molding me as a scholar and writer. She selflessly took me on as her pupil and worked with me for two years. Throughout our tenure together, she has constantly challenged my writing to reach the point where the “ink disappears from the page” so that my readers can easily follow the presented ideas. She sharpened my analytical and critical thinking skills while giving me the necessary aptitude of a historian. I am most grateful for the indispensable tools that I received from her kindred teaching, and I promise that these rare gifts will go for the betterment of humanity.

Every research project demands financial assistance, and I am lucky to have received it. The Hilldale fellowship and McNair scholars program generously bestowed thousands of dollars for my research that allowed me to travel to historical archives in Chicago, Illinois, and Rochester, New York. If it were not for such thoughtful donors, this research would not have been completed. Thus, my work is indebted to these benefactors and I extend my humble gratitude for such a unique honor.

None of this would have been possible if it were not for the nurturing care of my parents throughout my upbringing. I am deeply grateful for the everlasting support of my father, Vernon Blackwell, and mother, Linda Blackwell. Their soft yet courageous spirit has inspired me in all aspects of my work. I hope their collection passion to help others come through in my writing.

About the Author

Quilen Blackwell is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Thailand. He is a 9 year veteran community organizer who successfully organized groups in high school, college, and the Peace Corps. You can read his blog "Quilen's Cues to Community Organizing" at http://quilencuestocommunityorganizing.blogspot.com/ and contact him at qdblackwell@gmail.com.  This paper was a Senior Thesis Submitted to Professor Colleen Dunlavy of the History Department in Partial Completion of the Honors in the History Major Degree Requirements