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Witness the Rise & Fall of Organized Labor in the Charlotte Labor Journal

A cartoon depicting a group of workers rising into one man

“The Big Idea,” 1953

Issues of the Charlotte Labor Journal and Dixie Farm News from 1935-1953 are now available in our North Carolina Newspapers collection thanks to our partner the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. According to the Library of Congress, the paper was published weekly as the “organ of the Charlotte Central Labor Union.”

The first issue we have online, from January 24, 1935, was published less than a year after the General Strike of 1934, when between 300,000 and 500,000 textile workers along the East Coast (most from North and South Carolina) protested working conditions. Despite the large turnout and national recognition, though, workers in the Southern states did not see their demands met, which made many members lose faith in their unions.

Portraits of 18 men on the National Council for the American Federation of Labor

Portraits of the AFL Council from January 24, 1935

The issues that we have online roughly follow the trajectory of organized labor in the state overall; the last issue we have is from 1953, when Operation Dixie officially ended, ultimately failing to unite textile workers into a single large union. Part of that failure stemmed from opposition by the AFL, the union behind the Charlotte Labor Journal.

To see more materials from UNC Charlotte, visit their partner page or their library website. To see more digital content about labor unions in North Carolina, click here.

Microfilmed Newspaper Nominations Selected for Digitization, 2021-2022

Back in August, we announced our annual call for microfilmed newspaper digitization. We asked institutions throughout North Carolina to nominate papers they’d like to see added to DigitalNC. As it is every year, it was an incredibly tough choice – we are typically able to choose between 40-60 reels out of over 300+ nominated. This year we’ve chosen the following titles and years.

Title Years Nominating Institution
The Alleghany Times / News / Star-Times (Sparta, N.C.) 1933-1947 Alleghany County Public Library
The Charlotte Labor Journal and Dixie Farm News (Charlotte, N.C.) 1939-1953 UNC Charlotte
The Daily Record (Dunn, N.C.) 1963-1965 Campbell University
The Eagle (Cherryville, N.C.) 1942-1954 Cherryville Historical Museum
The Highlander (Highlands, N.C.) 1937-1978 Highlands Historical Society
The Kings Mountain Herald (Kings Mountain, N.C.) 1958 Mauney Memorial Library
North Carolina Catholic (Nazareth, N.C.) 1946-1968 Catholic Diocese of Raleigh
The Roanoke News (Weldon, N.C.) 1923-1944 Halifax County Library System
The Valdese News (Valdese, N.C.) 1938-1950 Burke County Public Library
The Yadkin Ripple (Fort Bend, N.C.) 1893-1944 Yadkin County Public Library

For our selection criteria, we prioritize newspapers that document underrepresented communities, new titles, papers that come from a county that currently has little representation on DigitalNC, and papers nominated by new partners. After selection, we ask the partners to secure permission for digitization and, if that’s successful, they make it into the final list above.

We hope to have these titles coming online in the first half of 2022. 

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This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features the latest news and highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from organizations across North Carolina.

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