"There's no such thing as an unqualified teacher": unionization and integration in the Philadelphia public schools (1).
The history of the relationship between urban teachers' unions and the civil rights movement in Philadelphia largely remains unwritten. Historical examinations of teacher unionization and its effects on desegregation mainly focus on New York City's United Federation of Teachers and the poor, mostly black Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district in Brooklyn, New York, where an experiment in educational administrative decentralization characterized by community control of local schools occurred simultaneously with the emergence of the teacher union movement of the 1960s. Tensions flared between black community leaders and white union teachers when community board members exerted their authority over school personnel transfers. The two sides of the conflict exchanged allegations of racism, anti-Semitism, unionism, and obstructionism. The crisis resulted in three citywide strikes of union teachers, an inauspicious beginning for educational reform in predominantly black urban schools, and an increase in the power of unionized teachers, especially over personnel policies and practices. (2)
The only study examining the history of the PFT is James Sanzare's A History of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, 1941-1973. (3) Published in 1977 with the endorsement and support of the union's Health and Welfare Fund, Sanzare's analysis lacks a thorough examination of how labor's ideology on issues like worker seniority and worker assignments related to issues of public education and racial integration. Specifically, Sanzare assumes that collective bargaining, worker seniority, and job placement preferences were appropriate topics for public schools and overlooks how such aspects of labor's ideology affected the administration of the schools, particularly when educational officials initiated major reform efforts at the behest of community members. Sanzare thus ignores an important characteristic that defined the nation's two largest teacher organizations throughout the twentieth century, namely, public school teachers' adoption of trade union rhetoric.
Recent educational histories of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) examine the emerging tensions between the two organizations, as each group developed its own ideologies on educational policies and practices, school reform initiatives, the appropriate role of teachers in society, and related issues. (4) Historical differences between the AFT and the NEA were significant. The AFT proudly displayed its affiliation with the AFL-CIO throughout its existence and adopted labor's confrontational style and positions on worker rights issues. The NEA and its affiliates--like the Philadelphia Teachers Association (PTA)--concentrated on establishing and maintaining standards of teacher professionalism and considered the AFT's collective bargaining strategies and use of strikes in contract negotiations to be the "rankest unionism." (5) The AFT and the NEA competed against each other for membership and national prominence between the 1930s and the 1950s, but their rivalry intensified in the early 1960s as the two groups challenged each other in a number of collective bargaining elections for the right to represent teachers in individual local school districts. Of the 40 elections between 1961 and 1965, the NEA won 26 but lost in most major urban areas, including New York, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Chicago, as well as Philadelphia. Following the NEA's 1961 loss in New York, Executive Director William Carr urged teachers to remain independent of the AFL-CIO and declared that "some labor leaders may plan to use their considerable economic and political power to affiliate all public school teachers in a white collar union." (6)
The NEA charged that collective bargaining specifically and unionism in general lowered teachers' professional standards. By contrast, the AFT embraced collective bargaining as the best way to improve teachers' working conditions and professional standing. Issues of civil rights proved effective for the AFT in countering the NEA's claims against unions and in gaining the support of teachers in northern urban areas, particularly following the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision. The AFT publicly criticized the NEA for inadequately responding to de facto segregation in northern urban school districts and for maintaining segregated affiliates in the South. (7) The AFT's adoption of labor's ideology, however, weakened the union's public stance on civil rights, especially when locals, such as the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, participated in desegregation battles when politically advantageous but quickly abandoned such conflicts when member rights were threatened.
Recent histories examining the role of race in the labor movement from the 1940s to the 1960s argue that trade unions achieved integrated workforces only when challenged or persuaded to do so, and typically yielded to local workplace or community racial practices. Union locals preserved segregated workplaces and defended their members' seniority and employment rights by adopting and effectively using "rights" rhetoric within the bureaucratic structures and negotiation strategies of their parent organizations. Through a "racialized democracy," local white rank-and-fliers determined with whom they did and did not work, and thus tested the "real" and the "limited commitment" of labor union leaders, who often were slow to respond to issues of racial inequalities. (8) Philadelphia labor unions were no exception to that tradition and actively resisted government programs fostering greater racial equality and economic opportunity. (9)
Worker rights competed against demands for workplace integration in Philadelphia during the campaign between the AFT-supported Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the NEA-affiliated Philadelphia Teachers' Association. The AFT-NEA battle to represent Philadelphia's teachers came amidst growing demands by the black community to integrate the students and faculties of the Philadelphia public school system. The defense of seniority rights, while a traditional stance of trade unionism, had genuine racial implications. The Philadelphia local's stance on racially integrating school faculties could not be balanced against the racist appearance of that stance. By the 1960s, leading organizations of Philadelphia's civil rights movement were impatient with the slow pace of desegregation throughout the city, and adopted increasingly militant positions on racial issues. (10) Civil rights activists in Philadelphia aimed to accomplish several goals. Specifically, however, black activists wanted an end to de facto segregation, particularly in housing and education, two areas that were inexorably linked, since where a student lived determined what school he or she attended. Civil rights leaders attacked de facto segregation on different fronts, but not always simultaneously. The desegregation of school faculties was the first major battle to integrate Philadelphia's public schools.
With a developing shift in outlook, civil rights groups increasingly demanded immediate action by the Board of Education to end de facto segregation in the schools. The issue of segregated education gained new urgency as Philadelphia's black student population increased from 47 percent of the total population of school-aged children in 1960 to 53 percent of the student population in 1964. By the end of the 1960s, over 60 percent of the total student population was black, and this population was heavily concentrated in the city's south, west, and northwest sections. Faculties began to reflect the increasing black population in the schools. Black public school teachers comprised approximately 28 percent of Philadelphia's public school faculties in 1960, and approximately 30 percent in 1964. (11)
The decade-long drive to end de facto segregation in the public schools highlighted the complex and competing viewpoints of Philadelphia's black community. During the 1960s, civil rights organizations in Philadelphia reflected a range of political ideologies. Moderate factions, dominated by the Four Hundred Ministers under the leadership of the Reverend Leon Sullivan, accepted a gradualist approach to school desegregation. (12) In addition to the clergy, Floyd Logan and his Educational Equity League, established in 1932, advocated for improvements in the quality of education for the black community through aggressive lobbying campaigns, such as the drive to restrict the use of textbooks that contained negative images of black citizens or omitted their contributions to American society. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, however, Logan increasingly employed more militant tactics to demand an end to student and teacher segregation. (13) The local branch of the NAACP, under the leadership of Cecil B. Moore, dominated the militant faction of Philadelphia's civil rights movement. Moore endorsed the use of direct action through boycotts and street demonstrations to end segregation and discrimination. Moore was an outspoken leader who had little patience for those who disagreed with him, including the clergy and middle-class blacks, whom Moore labeled "Uncle Toms." (14) Radical groups like the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) advocated "black power" and goaded other civil rights organizations into taking more militant actions and policy positions. Militant and radical parties alike highlighted the problems in so-called "ghetto" or "slum" schools, such as inadequate facilities, poor academic performance, and single-race student bodies and school faculties, and demanded more immediate action by school officials, including forced transfers of students and teachers, to end de facto segregation and its consequences (15) The militant posturing for immediate racial integration on the part of groups representing the black community conflicted with Philadelphia public school teachers' efforts to establish and maintain employment rights, however, and invariably led to confrontations between the two parties.
Civil rights organizations frequently criticized the Philadelphia School Board's attempts to integrate education in the early 1960s as inadequate. On 8 September 1963, for example, the Four Hundred Ministers announced at Sunday services a program of "direct action" on sixty-five "substandard" schools and charged that "a philosophy of discrimination and segregation is an integral part of the functioning of the public school system of Philadelphia." Cecil B. Moore supported the ministers' position and called for a community boycott of schools until the schools improved. (16) The Board and civil rights leaders agreed in part on which schools needed attention. School leaders targeted sixty of the sixty-five schools the preachers identified for the Educational Improvement Plan (EIP), which aimed to reduce teacher vacancies and to raise student achievement levels. (17) The two sides disagreed, however, on the best strategies to accomplish the stated goals of the EIP program, as civil rights groups demanded full and immediate implementation of the EIP.
In another display of dissatisfaction, the Philadelphia NAACP filed suit against the Philadelphia School Board in July 1961, charging the board with discriminatory practices toward blacks in "assignment of teachers, establishment of school boundaries and transfer of pupils." At the time of the filing, the PFT was in the midst of organizing its collective bargaining campaign, and in so doing, attempted to gain public support from many community organizations. In this spirit, the PFT twice filed an amicus curiae on behalf of the NAACP. Federation president Celia Pincus highlighted the PFT's traditional support of desegregation and claimed the union was in a "unique position to aid the court." "While we have campaigned for better salaries and improved working conditions," Pincus said, "we have also taken an active role in community activities of broad educational interests." The court was not convinced of the Federation's position and interpreted the PFT's motives behind the filing as a way of currying the favor of civil rights groups. The court twice barred the PFT from joining the suit, saying that "whether this motion was prompted by some purpose other than that of assistance to the court" was open to conjecture. (18)
As stated, the AFL-CIO and its affiliates, like the AFT, generally supported desegregation initiatives publicly but locally opposed action that threatened worker seniority. The AFT acknowledged that "[r]acial integration in the North is largely a big city problem" and "urged" its members "to work" with local chapters of civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP, the Urban League, and the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). The AFT promoted the formation of "integration committees [to] work with local school authorities [and to] do everything possible to ensure that they exert a real influence and achieve the desired results," including faculty integration. (19) The AFT claimed, however, that faculty desegregation could not be accomplished through moving educators from one school to another, as civil rights groups wanted, but rather by school districts "mak[ing] every effort to employ larger numbers of non-whites" and by assigning "new non-Caucasian teachers and supervisors ... in the schools with the highest proportion of white faculty members." (20) According to the AFT, teachers had no role to play in faculty desegregation. Instead, that responsibility rested with local school boards. The AFT failed to recognize, however, how shifting the responsibility for faculty desegregation to local school boards and new teachers affected local unions' relationships with the same community groups with whom the AFT hoped to work. The AFT further complicated its logic by advocating militant action for teacher unionization and worker protection in its drives for collective bargaining, yet discouraging that same activist spirit for civil rights and faculty integration. Like its trade union associates, the AFT advocated racial equality, but only if it did not threaten the seniority and security of its membership.
The AFT attempted to persuade teachers at the local level that defending traditional rights of job security and workplace conditions through collective bargaining and AFT affiliation could foster individual and community support of racially integrated schooling. "To improve the education of the Negro child, you must improve the conditions of work for the Negro child's teacher," the AFT claimed. Smaller class sizes, reduced teacher loads, increased auxiliary services, and other such matters "are customary subjects for collective bargaining," and would lessen teachers' resistance and increase their commitment to racially integrated education. (21) The AFT advocated becoming a power-sharing partner with community and civil rights groups interested in education, but failed to recognize how unionization and collective bargaining fundamentally altered the relationships with these same groups by placing greater importance on worker seniority than on racial integration and educational opportunity:
The collective bargaining local gains the security and status necessary to mount a faculty and community drive to school desegregation.... The collective bargaining agent, duly elected, can use its more secure position to sell its membership and in fact all teachers on the educational value of integration. Equally important, the collective bargaining agent has the status to call together community action groups for the purpose of developing cooperative approaches or programs. (22)
The AFT's argument was problematic at best, since it assumed that all local unions desired integrated schools and wanted to "sell" their members on the idea of desegregation. Locals rejected desegregation, however, when they perceived that their members' seniority rights or job placement preferences were threatened by work assignments mandated by school administrators or board officials. While teachers' unions in urban areas achieved their elevated "status," civil rights groups increased their demands for immediate desegregation of teachers and students. Tensions over desegregation in cities like Philadelphia grew in the 1960s, and teachers' unions themselves became the targets of civil rights groups' criticisms. As a result of the PFT's strong objections to school faculty desegregation, local civil rights activists began moving away from integration as their primary goal in the early 1960s, and more toward community control of schools by decade's end.
Philadelphia's increasingly militant civil rights groups alleged that schools with large black student populations had high teacher vacancy rates, which the board filled with less qualified and inexperienced substitute teachers. Indeed, in 1965, one-half of predominantly black schools had 10 percent or more of their teaching staffs composed of substitutes, a rate twice that of white-majority schools. Such a condition, civil rights leaders charged, led to an inferior education for black students. (23) Local civil rights leaders demanded a balance between experienced veteran teachers and less experienced teachers. In September 1963, the Philadelphia School Board and the NAACP settled their lawsuit and agreed to a reduction in the number of substitute instructors in predominately black schools through the assignment of new teachers. The PFT, however, contradicted earlier AFT policy statements and complained that this action "drastically altered" teachers' employment conditions without agreement from teachers and "demanded" to be consulted on any future action regarding personnel placements. (24)
School Superintendent Allan Wetter responded to the PFT's criticism in October by announcing that new teachers would be offered "a choice" of any school with a 10 percent or higher teacher vacancy rate. The out-of-court settlement with the NAACP stipulated, however, that the board first assign new teachers to "all-Negro or predominately Negro schools" until the number of substitute teachers in those schools was equal to the citywide level. In response, Wetter implemented a voluntary system for placing teachers in predominantly black schools. The Board of Education's Special Committee on Nondiscrimination endorsed the voluntary program in December, even though the previous summer, committee members called for mandatory placement of teachers in black-majority schools to counteract the traditional system of teachers transferring to their choice of schools based on accumulated seniority. (25) The Nondiscrimination Committee agreed with civil rights groups in claiming that the seniority system "lower[ed] the number of experienced teachers and increase[d] the number of substitutes in these [predominantly black] schools," resulting in "a poor educational situation, particularly in schools where the children need the greatest possible teaching skills." The committee relented on its demand for mandatory teacher placements, however, under pressure from the teacher organizations, who argued that compulsory transfers would lower teacher morale. (26) Committee members endorsed the voluntary program for two years, even while expressing "grave doubts" that the initiative would succeed. (27) Although the practice of allowing new candidates to indicate a preference was later dropped, the voluntary program for existing faculty remained in place through the first contract negotiations between the school board and the PFT, and was a major point of contention between the PFT and civil rights groups throughout the rest of the 1960s. (28)
By the end of 1964, only 315 teachers, or 3.7 percent of the entire teaching staff, requested transfers under the voluntary system. (29) Both teacher organizations and civil rights groups attacked the voluntary program as a failure, but for different reasons. Teacher groups placed the blame for the program's failure on the school system's administration and claimed that School Superintendent C. Taylor Whittier had not given the teacher organizations adequate support to explain the program to colleagues or to foster their interest. Floyd Logan, however, claimed that the voluntary nature of the program was to blame, and advocated discarding voluntary transfers of teachers in favor of mandatory placements to where teachers were needed most. Logan called the voluntary program "unworkable by reason of the widespread objection of white teachers to teaching in so-called difficult schools, specifically Negro." Logan also charged teachers with avoiding their responsibilities to children "by persisting in their opposition to assignment of teachers based on the needs of the school system as a whole." Not even increased salaries, Logan argued, would "result in greater teacher dedication, efficiency and improved quality of education." "For all the money in the world," he concluded, "is not going to make any of our teachers more dedicated, efficient and willing to teach any and all children regardless of cultural deprivation, race or color." (30)
The PFT objected to Logan's assessment of the voluntary nature of teacher transfers. The problem with the transfer program, claimed the PFT, was not that white teachers did not volunteer to teach in predominantly black schools, but rather that black educators did not request teaching assignments in white-majority schools. Echoing AFT policy statements, the Federation called for unionization and collective bargaining to both foster integration and to address "all matters affecting teachers' welfare [and] security." "Not only is there no conflict between long-established trade union principles of seniority rights of employees on transfers, promotions, etc. and a positive program of integration," the union claimed, "but it is our belief that integration both at pupil and faculty level can only be effectively established by recognition and acceptance of these trade union principles." Thus, the PFT not only ignored Philadelphia labor unions' historic opposition to integration programs, but also adopted the AFT's paradoxical reasoning of blaming the victims of segregation and called on the 30 percent of teachers who were black "to help break segregated patterns by requesting transfers in accordance with present procedures, to schools in predominantly white areas." (31)
The PFT's advocacy of seniority rights displayed another contradiction in its argument. The Federation anticipated that new teachers assigned to so-called "difficult" schools would want to leave those schools at the first opportunity. Ben Stahl, an AFL-CIO organizer assigned to facilitate the PFT's collective bargaining campaign, asserted, "[A] new teacher just like a new worker in a private firm must be willing to accept whatever vacancy is available. When he builds up his seniority, he can then have the right to bid for other openings. A program for integrating the new teacher as he enters can be an important step toward staff integration." (32) Despite objections by civil rights activists and school board members about inexperienced educators in predominately black schools, the PFT reversed its previous position and now advocated the placement of new educators in black-majority schools on a perpetual basis, expecting new teachers to leave their original assignments for so-called "better" schools at the earliest opportunity, presumably leaving the next generation of new teachers to fill the remaining vacancies. Under the seniority rules the Federation now promoted, school officials would need to assign new teachers to predominantly black schools on a perpetual basis, as veteran teachers moved up and out after gaining valuable classroom experience. The result would be one step above the frequent use of substitutes, but still problematic, since the least experienced teachers would staff the most troubled schools.
Thus, during this period, the Philadelphia public school system was in the middle of a conflict between two competing factions--the teachers and the black community. As the school board conceded to one group, it inevitably angered the other. Such a situation fostered the division between union teachers and civil rights groups as the latter made demands for immediate integration that the PFT believed would threaten workers' job security. Divisions between the two parties deepened after the Federation's victory over the Philadelphia Teachers Association in the 1965 collective bargaining election.
The contest between the PFT and the PTA further exposed the Federation's use of civil rights issues to gain political advantage and also gave the PFT the opportunity to solidify its alliances with organized labor while distinguishing itself as a teachers' organization outside of the administrative hierarchy. Because neither the Federation nor the Association held exclusive negotiation rights with the Board of Education before 1965, both groups annually presented their needs to the board and petitioned board members for favorable improvements on matters such as salary, benefits, and supplies. In such an arrangement, the Federation argued that the PTA--which counted administrators among its membership and emphasized professional standards for teachers--was inside the educational power structure and therefore ineffective in providing tangible improvements to teachers' working environments. (33) Federation president John Ryan exploited this arrangement when explaining that teachers chose to affiliate with the unions of the AFL-CIO "in order to gain strength from an organization representative of hundreds of thousands of Philadelphians and 13 million Americans." "Furthermore," Ryan asserted, "in the AFL-CIO, teachers see the one economically oriented group that has fought for educational opportunity for all children since its formation." (34) Ryan thus argued that the PFT offered educators a viable alternative to the PTA and a reasonable opportunity to reform an ineffective and bureaucratic school system from within, offering improved educational opportunities for the school children of Philadelphia.
As the PFT mounted its petition drive for a collective bargaining election between 1962 and 1965, the Federation received extensive financial assistance, organizational guidance, and other support from leading labor unions both within and outside of Philadelphia, including the AFT, the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO, the Philadelphia Labor Council, the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, and the Teamsters. (35) The PFT's union affiliations dominated its debate with the PTA during the campaign, and the Federation addressed issues of civil rights and integration only when politically advantageous to do so.
At the 1964 AFT National Convention in Chicago, Charles Cogen, leader of the New York United Federation of Teachers and newly elected AFT President, described Philadelphia as "ripe" for a campaign of "militancy and collective bargaining." He continued, "I hope to use all the devices available to trade unions [in Philadelphia] because after all we are a trade union. These include strikes, if necessary, picketing, and rallies." PFT President John Ryan followed Cogen at the speakers' podium and announced that with a win in Philadelphia teachers "will be able to convince the school board and administrators they have the ability to carry out [the] action" of trade unionism. (36) "We believe," Ryan continued, "that the teachers of Philadelphia are willing to use the ultimate weapon of a strike as a last resort if the school administration or the Board of Education closes all other doors." (37) In response to the issue of threatened teacher professionalism, Cogen maintained, "unionism strengthens professionalism.... It has made teaching a real profession rather than a degrading occupation." According to Cogen, unionism achieved professionalism through bargaining over traditional labor movement issues. "Our main concern," Cogen stated, "is with the salaries, working conditions and the dignity of the teacher as an individual." (38)
The Federation regularly attacked the Association's position on teacher professionalism and argued professional standards could be established and maintained through the collective bargaining process. The PFT asserted that "collective bargaining with the Board of Public Education" would "restore to Philadelphia's children ... a first rate education ... for a first rate city!" The PFT argued that only through teacher unionization and collective bargaining could the school system achieve smaller class sizes for more effective instruction, better salaries to recruit and retain quality teachers, more instructional supplies and materials, more psychological services for students, more specialized teachers to enhance school curriculum, and "a dynamic role for the teacher in educational planning to insure that the special knowledge of the classroom teacher is utilized to provide for the needs for the city's children." (39)
For its part, the Philadelphia Teachers Association argued that unionization under the PFT threatened teacher professionalism, privileged trade labor unions in public education, and distanced educators from the community they served. In a series of "public memoranda," Executive Secretary Walter O'Brien and President Marion Steet touted the PTA's professional activities (participating in and sponsoring national, state, and local educational conferences with recognized experts, publishing a professional magazine, and hosting career conferences for the Future Teachers of America organization) and attacked labor unions and their tactics as a whole, especially labor's use of strikes as a negotiating strategy. (40) "[T]eachers serve all the children of the people--laborers, professional people, craftsmen, office workers, farmers, public officials, managers, businessmen," O'Brien and Steet asserted, while "[m]embers of the teachers union have formed an alliance with one segment of the population [that] has clearly defined policies on highly controversial political and social issues. It typically (and legitimately) advances its policies by definite political and partisan links and commitments." (41) Thus, O'Brien and Steet did not bridge any gaps between the Association and the teachers, students, and parents it claimed to serve. Rather, by accentuating the differences, the PTA ignored Philadelphia's long labor tradition and indicted the larger labor movement as a whole. (42) Further, the PTA only considered civil rights issues late in the campaign, and then only as an afterthought. At the end of their last public memorandum, O'Brien and Steet described the PTA's participation on the Board of Education's Nondiscrimination Committee and their role in developing the Educational Improvement Program for under-performing, mostly black, schools. (43)
The effect of the Federation's and the Association's broadsides on pubic opinion was unclear. An editorial in the Philadelphia Tribune, the leading newspaper for the city's black community, encouraged teachers to support the PTA instead of "a non-professional organization." The editorial concluded, "The kind of bargaining in which some organizations engage in order to get benefits for their members is, we believe, beneath the dignity of the teacher profession." (44) The city's leading newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, did not take an official position on the election, but instead published two letters to the editor on the eve of the election that made oblique references to the Association's ineffectiveness, and promoted union strength. In one letter, "JMR" criticized the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and its allies--presumably the parent NEA and the local affiliated PTA--for ignoring the "colossal problems" faced by a "deteriorating school system" and for "block[ing] the path of genuine educational reform." Doing so made the PSEA "look inept and foolish." In another letter, "Faculty Wife" described how her husband, a new teacher, "received an unsatisfactory rating" for not being able to control his students. "[T]eaching his subject had been practically an impossible task" because the school was "faced with such disciplinary problems." This new teacher received the option of voluntary resignation or dismissal "without any possible transfer in sight." "Faculty Wife" concluded that her husband "is a teacher who is new to the field and is not a policeman." (45) Both "JMR" and "Faculty Wife" implied that the Association stood in the way of genuine reform to address discipline problems in the schools and that the Federation could protect the jobs and the rights of teachers as well as foster the professionalism of new and dedicated instructors.
At least one segment of the Philadelphia community remained unconvinced by the teacher organizations' public commentaries. Many civil rights leaders remained opposed to both groups specifically because of their stands on faculty desegregation. Floyd Logan of the Educational Equity League alleged that neither group had tried to improve the education of Philadelphia's black students despite both groups' claims of contributing to the civil rights movement and racial integration. Logan chastised both groups for opposing mandatory teacher assignments to poor and black schools. "[T]he 'voluntary transfer' method they favor" Logan charged, "hasn't resulted in a single white going to a Negro school since it was started [in 1963]." (46) Logan based his reaction to both teacher groups on the fact that the Federation and the Association focused on civil rights as an election issue late in the campaign and only when politically advantageous. At a press conference on 21 January 1965, Charles Cogen called civil rights the "main issue" of the election and cited the AFT's history of civil rights advocacy, including support of the March on Washington. (47) That evening, civil rights leader and former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, announced at a Federation meeting that King endorsed the PFT in the election. The Association leadership, recognizing the significance of the endorsement, challenged Rustin by calling his claim "a fraud and a hoax." "By implication," Executive Secretary William O'Brien said, "the endorsement means our association has not been as active in promoting the rights of Negroes or as concerned with integrated education. Just the opposite is true." (48) Atlanta-based NEA officials met with King and reported to the PTA that King did not know about Rustin's announcement since he had not met with Rustin in several weeks. (49)
O'Brien and other PTA leaders hastily arranged a meeting with King and within a few days King sent a telegram to the Association, which O'Brien made public. King's lukewarm advocacy of the PTA, however, did not alter the Association's image as an establishment organization and did little to bolster its campaign position, reading in part:
In my endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers I did not mean to imply that the civil rights issue was the main issue of this election. I am convinced that the Philadelphia Teachers' Association has made a substantial contribution to the cause of civil rights and the welfare of Philadelphia teachers and children, both Negro and white. ... I am sure that the teachers of Philadelphia are competent to judge which of the organizations will best further the interests of teachers, students, and American education in Philadelphia. (50)
The issues of salaries, working conditions, and civil rights as presented by the PFT resonated with enough Philadelphia teachers to give the Federation an election day victory, with a little over 51 percent of teachers voting for the PFT. Federation president John Ryan claimed that teachers "realized that voting for us was one way to gain control over the school system." (51) That "control" included worker seniority and job security, but also solidified the alliance between the Federation and the labor unions that played an important role throughout the campaign. The increasingly close relationship between teachers and trade unionists, however, widened the gap between the PFT and civil rights organizations, whose interests ran counter to the union's aims of attaining and protecting the rights and benefits of its membership, and invariably contributed to the growing militarism of Philadelphia's civil rights groups who, by the late 1960s and early 1970s, demanded educational reforms that validated black group identity and community control of schools.
Following its victory, the PTF entered contract negotiations with the school board and addressed the issue of integration of school faculties as the AFT advocated--through the collective bargaining process. The 1965 negotiations and the resulting contract between the Federation and the school board revealed the anti-integration tendencies of rank-and-file labor unions within the AFT, unions that easily objected to the patently racist de jure segregation of the South, but that took a much weaker stance on de facto segregation in northern cities like Philadelphia, when ending the practice appeared to threaten worker seniority and job security. (52) School board authorities expressed their "greatest concern" during negotiations with the teacher transfer policy and acknowledged that civil rights leaders demanded immediate action from school officials to achieve racially balanced faculties and improved quality of instruction in predominantly black schools. School representatives wanted to balance the "skills and abilities" of teachers with the needs of individual schools and maintain positive relationships with civil rights groups. (53) Instead of acting decisively on those concerns, however, school negotiators acquiesced to union demands and maintained the seniority system for teacher transfer requests and a voluntary transfer system to foster integration. (54)
The plan agreed upon by the board and the union kept the 1963 transfer plan intact and immediately affected 122 schools, one hundred of which were predominately white. Under the voluntary transfer plan, teachers requested a transfer to a school with a faculty of 90 percent or more of one racial group. Volunteer teachers received payment for attending a one-month summer workshop plus ten bonus points toward an administrative promotional exam if they chose to take such a test in the future. The Federation and the school board agreed to "jointly encourage maximum participation" in the voluntary program, but neither defined "maximum participation" nor outlined specific means to accomplish this goal. (55) The plan did not satisfy all teachers, civil rights groups, or state civil rights officials. The PTA, stinging from its loss in the representative election, took the moral high ground and voiced minority discontent in an effort to embarrass the union. Association president Marion Steet called the agreement on transfers "a sellout of Philadelphia teachers" and asserted that "integration is not a fit subject for collective bargaining." The PTA also criticized the manner in which the PFT ratified the agreement--at a general meeting called one day in advance and, from a membership of ten thousand, attended by only two hundred teachers, twenty-five of whom voted against the transfer plan. (56)
Civil rights leaders also criticized the plan and in so doing began articulating black power rhetoric and notions of community control of schools. Floyd Logan of the Educational Equity League called the monetary and promotional incentives of the plan "unfair to Negro teachers who have taught for years in the so-called difficult schools." As such, Logan contended, black teachers were not likely to volunteer. (57) Indeed, the following year the Board of Education reflected union language and asserted the plan was not working because of black teachers' reluctance to transfer to predominately white schools. This assertion drew sharp criticism from Cecil B. Moore of the NAACP. Calling board members "mealy-mouth Pontius Pilate[s]," Moore claimed that 94 of the 125 transfers in the first year were black teachers moving to predominantly white schools. Further, ten of the thirty-one white teachers who voluntarily transferred returned to their original schools. Moore commended black teachers for not transferring, explaining that their volunteering would both validate the board's failure "to assert its statutory duty" to assign teachers where they were most needed, and also rob black-majority schools of "competent, dedicated, loyal and efficient" black teachers, creating vacancies to be filled "by inexperienced and incompetent white substitutes." Moore applauded black teachers' "loyalty and racial pride in remaining steadfast to the principles of racial enlightenment in the face of the Board of Education's racial vacillation and venality. (58)
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (HRC), a state civil rights enforcement organization, also objected to the voluntary plan. In October 1966, the HRC filed suit against the school board and the PFT over their 1966 negotiated contract, which, like the 1965 agreement, kept the voluntary transfer plan intact. The HRC claimed the union contract violated the state's Human Relations Act by prohibiting the district from transferring teachers "to effectuate integration of faculties" in the public schools, resulting in "all-one color or substantially all-one color faculties in public schools [and] an inferior grade of education" for students in segregated schools. (59) Indeed, in the years immediately following the PFT's collective bargaining victory, the substitute situation in black-majority schools that civil rights groups had hoped to improve through compulsory teacher assignments only worsened. In the 1966-67 school year, 65 percent of predominantly black schools had 10 percent or more of their teaching staffs composed of substitutes. During the 1967-68 school year, the figure increased to 82 percent. (60) Despite the demands for mandatory transfers of teachers and greater cooperation from the PFT made by community civil rights groups, state civil rights officials, federal civil rights regulators, and some school board members (all of whom pursued judicial, legislative, and regulatory remedies to achieve faculty integration), the voluntary program for teachers continued well into the late 1970s. (61)
Black Philadelphians' discontent with the Philadelphia public school system intensified throughout the late 1960s. This animosity developed simultaneously with the emerging Black Power movement of the mid-to-late 1960s in northern urban areas. Blacks' anger with the school system in general, and the Federation's obstructionist stance on educational reforms in particular, often took the form of dramatic student protests and increasingly reflected the ideology of black group identity and demands for community control of schools. The first and most violent event of this kind occurred on 17 November 1967 at school board headquarters, when approximately thirty-five hundred students demonstrated for curricular reforms, inclusion of more African and urban studies courses, the right to wear African-style clothing, and increased numbers of black teachers and principals. The protest ended with a police crackdown, the arrest of several students, and a riot-like atmosphere. (62) The public stance of the union leadership was that student demonstrators were illegally absent from school during their protest activities. Further, PFT officials openly stated support for the controversial actions police took to restore law and order, refused to issue a statement supporting the students, and did not endorse any of the issues students protested for, such as curricular changes or student rights and empowerment. The Federation's official position divided the union's ranks along racial lines. Many black union members led a walkout of black teachers at a Federation meeting in December when the PFT leadership refused to alter its official stance on the student protest. Later, these same teachers attempted to develop a separate black teachers union, enlisting about thirteen hundred former members of the Federation. The PFT eventually acceded to black union member demands, but only for the sake of union solidarity, and issued a new, less controversial position statement on the events of 17 November. (63)
A second notable student demonstration occurred in October 1969 at the predominantly black West Philadelphia High School. There, students sustained a three-week protest, consisting of spontaneous walkouts, sit-down strikes, and picketing, against George Fishman, a white social studies teacher assigned to teach a course in black history. Students accused Fishman of ignoring important parts of black history and teaching topics that were "not relevant" in the modern world. Students at first called for Fishman's transfer from the school, but as their protest gained momentum, they demanded his termination for incompetence. While the school's administration and the system's central leadership supported the students for acting on their opinions, the Federation took a strong position supporting Fishman, relying on labor rights rhetoric to claim Fishman's due process was violated. The union alleged that a few students trumped up charges against Fishman to demand his ouster, and a permissive school administration encouraged their disruptive behavior. The PFT leadership demanded that the school system suspend the demonstrators and restore order in the school. Federation president Frank Sullivan declared that anything short of that would result in "student control of schools," a situation in which "no teacher [would be] safe." Union members authorized a citywide strike if school officials took any personnel action against Fishman. (64)
Students, parents, and community leaders involved with the situation opposed the union's position and viewed the Federation as part of a system that provided inferior education to the black community. Randolph Donovan, president of the local Home and School Association, a district-wide organization for parental involvement in the schools, alleged, "For too long have they [the school system] ignored the appeals of the black community for better schools and quality education." Novella Williams, president of Citizens for Progress, a local community action organization, argued, "[I]t's the union versus the community--the black community." Student Richard Williams, one of the protest leaders, asserted, "This is not a case of students against teacher, of black versus white. It is a case of quality education .... The union believes there is no such thing as an unqualified teacher." (65) The PFT's threat of a strike ultimately discouraged school administrators from responding to community concerns by taking any decisive action against Fishman, even though many school board members and School Superintendent Mark Shedd voiced support for the students and their goals of community-based decisions in school administration. In announcing his decision, Shedd acknowledged that "There are large and important issues critical to quality education that have been raised by the Fishman case at West Philadelphia High School" and to ignore them "would be a disservice to the Board, the school system, and the entire community at large." (66) By acquiescing to union threats, however, school administrators did commit a "disservice" to Philadelphia schools by solidifying the workplace inequalities and segregated faculties implicitly advocated by the Federation.
The story of teacher unionization and faculty desegregation in Philadelphia illuminates several important issues in educational history. First, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' many years of organization efforts and coalition building with numerous labor unions culminated in a collective bargaining victory over their rival teacher organization. Such efforts symbolized increased teacher militancy against local school boards in urban areas during the 1960s. Further, the PFT victory symbolized a definitive shift of power and influence in large urban centers away from the National Education Association, the nation's largest and oldest teaching organization, to the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO. Between 1961 and 1964, teachers in New York, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Chicago also voted for representation by AFT-affiliated locals. Lastly and most importantly, the PFT victory solidified the relationship the AFT and union locals shared with the broader labor movement throughout the twentieth century. The movement toward collective bargaining, customary in trade-labor unionism, was at a high point among urban teachers, with AFT victories in big cities with long and deep labor union traditions.
Teachers' alliances with the labor movement came at a cost, however. In protecting the security and seniority of their members in northern urban areas, local unions invariably promoted segregated work environments, and thus segregated public educational facilities. The Federation's refusal to submit to community demands for faculty desegregation through mandatory teacher transfers in Philadelphia was reminiscent of New York's United Federation of Teachers' reaction to community-controlled schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville. And, similar to the Ocean Hill-Brownsville case, the PFT's staunch opposition to public demand for reform created a breach between teachers and the community they claimed to serve. After 1965, the PFT was an organization striving to maintain the status quo of rights and privileges for its members in an institution attempting to reform itself. (67) As such, the system's ability to successfully achieve racial integration and implement other needed school reforms was problematic. (68)
Although Philadelphia schools did not share the same degree of animosity or violence as New York during the Ocean Hill-Brownsville crisis, the Federation successfully prevented the school board from establishing and carrying out personnel policy as school administrators and leading community groups saw fit. The PFT feared that any concession in the area of workplace assignments could leave teachers vulnerable to the whims of capricious administrators, civil rights activists, or vindictive parents and students. (69) With this obstructionism, the Federation successfully limited the school board's ability to make decisions regarding school practices, to effectively implement policy, or to initiate change, and through the sustained use of labor ideology, worker rights rhetoric, and threatened strikes, and thus helped maintain a segregated school system in the city of brotherly love.
(1.) Portions of an earlier version of this article were presented at the Fourth Annual Spencer Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania. I would like to thank Timothy J. Gilfoyle, Michael B. Katz, Francis Ryan, Thomas J. Sugrue, and The Historian's anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, and acknowledge the assistance of the librarians, archivists, and staff members at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and the Philadelphia Board of Education libraries.
(2.) See Philip Taft, United They Teach: The Story of the United Federation of Teachers (Los Angeles, Calif., 1974) for a comprehensive examination of New York teacher unionization. For a contemporary survey analysis of union teachers, see Stephen Cole, The Unionization of Teachers: A Case Study of the UFT (New York, 1969). For more on Ocean Hill-Brownsville, see Taft, "Ocean Hill and the Fight for Job Security," in United They Teach, 167-218; Wendell Pritchett, "The Ocean Hill-Brownsville Community and the 1968 Teachers' Strike," in Brownsville, Brooklyn: Blacks, Jews, and the Changing Face of the Ghetto (Chicago, Ill., 2002), 221-38; Diane Ravitch, "Preparing for a Showdown," 338-51, " 'We Will Have to Write Our Own Rules ...,'" 352-61, and "Confrontations and Strikes," 362-78, in The Great School Wars (1974; reprint, Baltimore, 2000); Jane Anna Gordon, Why They Couldn't Wait: A Critique of the Black-Jewish Conflict over Community Control in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, 1967-1971 (New York, 2001).
(3.) James Sanzare, A History of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, 1941-1973 (Philadelphia, Pa., 1977).
(4.) Marjorie Murphy, Blackboard Unions: The AFT and the NEA, 1900-1980 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1990); Wayne J. Urban, Gender, Race, and the National Education Association: Professionalism and Its Limitations (New York, 2000).
(5.) Edward B. Shils and C. Taylor Whittier, Teachers, Administrators, and Collective Bargaining (New York, 1968), 21-23.
(6.) Murphy, Blackboard Unions, 205-12, 222-24, 227-28; Urban, Gender, Race, and the National Education Association, 57-60, 173.
(7.) Murphy, Blackboard Unions, 205-12.
(8.) Bruce Nelson, "Class, Race, and Democracy in the CIO: The 'New' Labor History Meets the 'Wages of Whiteness,'" International Review of Social History 41 (1996): 364-68; Kevin Boyle, "'There Are No Union Sorrows That the Union Can't Heal': The Struggle for Racial Equality in the United Automobile Workers, 1940-1960," Labor History 36 : 1 (1995): 5-8; idem, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968 (Ithaca, 1995), 117. Nelson argues that "racialized democracy" was part of the attitudes and behaviors that characterized "white backlash" toward civil right movements to end de facto segregation in northern urban areas. See J. Anthony Lukas, Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families (New York, 1985) for an examination of how "white backlash" affected public schools. For a debate on Nelson, see Elizabeth Faue, "'Anti-Heroes of the Working Class': A Response to Bruce Nelson," International Review of Social History 41 (1996): 375-88; Thomas J. Sugrue, "Segmented Work, Race-Conscious Workers: Structure, Agency and Division in the CIO Era," International Review of Social History 41 (1996): 389-406; Bruce Nelson, "Working Class Agency and Racial Inequality," International Review of Social History 41 (1996): 407-20. See also Michael Goldfield, "Race and the CIO: The Possibilities for Racial Egalitarianism During the 1930s and 1940s," International Labor and Working-Class History 44 (1993): 1-32. For an exploration of labor unions' abilities to overcome racial differences, see Lizabeth Cohen, "Workers' Common Ground," in Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 (Cambridge, 1990), 323-60. For the uses and effects of "rights" language, see Thomas J. Sugrue, "Breaking Through: The Troubled Origins of Affirmative Action in the Workplace" in Color Lines: Affirmative Action, Immigration, and Civil Rights Options for America, ed. John David Skrentny (Chicago, Ill., 2001), 33-34, 40-46.
(9.) Hugh David Graham, "From Johnson to Nixon: The Irony of the Philadelphia Plan," 278-297, and "The Philadelphia Plan Redux," 322-45 in The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of National Policy, 1960-1972 (New York, 1990).
(10.) Matthew J. Countryman, "Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia, 1940-1971" (Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 1998).
(11.) William Odell, Educational Survey Report for the Philadelphia Board of Public Education (Philadelphia, 1965), 6, 296; For Every Child: The Story of Integration in the Philadelphia Public Schools (Philadelphia, 1960), 4-6; Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac (Philadelphia, 1969), 381; Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac (Philadelphia, 1971), 391.
(12.) Paul Elmer Grosser, "Competitive Interest Group Politics: The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the Philadelphia Teachers Association" (Ph.D. diss., Pennsylvania State University, 1968), 28-32; Anne Ellen Phillips, "The Struggle for School Desegregation in Philadelphia, 1945-1967" (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2000), 12-16.
(13.) Vincent P. Franklin, The Education of Black Philadelphia: The Social and Educational History of a Minority Community, 1900-1950 (Philadelphia, Pa., 1979), 136-37, 200-04.
(14.) Quoted in Grosset, "Competitive Interest Group Politics," 30. See also Phillips, "The Struggle for School Desegregation in Philadelphia," 26-29.
(15.) Grosser, "Competitive Interest Group Politics," 28-32. See also Countryman, "The Black Power Movement and the Schools," in "Civil Rights and the Black Power Movement in Philadelphia," 464-530.
(16.) "Negro Ministers Start 'Action' on 65 Schools," Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Clipping Collection, Temple University Urban Archives, Philadelphia, (hereafter Evening Bulletin) 9 September 1963; "Negro Pastors Begin School 'Action' Plan," Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 September 1963; 400 Negro Preachers of Philadelphia to J. Harry LaBrum and Allen T. Wetter, (memorandum) 10 September 1963, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Collection, Temple University Urban Archives, Philadelphia (hereafter PFT Collection) Box 14-Early Office Files, Folder-J. Harry LaBrum.
(17.) "Special Attention Classes to be Directed By a Negro," Evening Bulletin, 8 September 1963; "Negro Ministers Start 'Action' on 65 Schools," ibid., 9 September 1963; "School Board to Define Its Racial Policy," ibid., 10 September 1963.
(18.) "Teachers Union Seeks Role in NAACP's School Suit," Evening Bulletin, 18 December 1961; "Teachers Barred from Joining Suit," ibid., 10 January 1962; "Teachers Union Rebuffed Again," ibid., 2 March 1962. The NAACP was only one of the civil rights groups from whom the PFT sought support. PFT Collection Box 22-Subject Files, 1960-1969 contains correspondence from PFT authorities to James Farmer, National Director of CORE, and to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership requesting public endorsements of the PFT during the union drive.
(19.) Guidelines for AFT Involvement in Big City School Integration (Chicago, Ill., 1963), PFT Collection Box 22-Subject Files, 1960-1969.
(21.) Civil Rights Committee of the American Federation of Teachers Executive Council, Toward Equal Opportunity: New Directives for AFT Civil Rights Committees (Chicago, Ill., ca. 1964), 7, PFT Collection Box 39A-Correspondence and Data with AFT, PAFT, UFT, All Other Locals, 1970-1971.
(22.) Ibid., 8.
(23.) Helen Oakes, "The School District of Philadelphia: A Critical Analysis" (Philadelphia, 1968), 9-11, Temple University Urban Archives General Pamphlet Collection Box 489, Folder 10.
(24.) John A. Ryan to J. Harry LaBrum, 27 September 1963, PFT Collection Box 14-Early Office Files, Folder-J. Harry LaBrum; Philadelphia Teachers Organizing Policy Committee, 26 September 1963 meeting minutes, PFT Collection Box 15-Organizing Drive, 1965, Folder 1 of 2-Policy Committee; "Teachers Union Objects to Board Pact on Jobs," Evening Bulletin, 27 September 1963.
(25.) "New Teachers Given Choice of Schools, NAACP Objects," Evening Bulletin, 23 October 1963; "Crippins Praises Report on Schools, Moore Cool," ibid., 24 July 1964; "Teachers Rap Whittier Over Integration," ibid., 20 December 1964.
(26.) Experienced veteran teachers generally transferred to so-called "good" schools once they gained the seniority to do so. Thus, a return to what teachers perceived to be a "bad" school (usually located in a pooh predominantly black neighborhood, with low academic performances and substandard facilities) through a board-mandated transfer potentially represented a backward step in a teacher's career.
(27.) "Teachers Rap Whittier over Integration," Evening Bulletin, 20 December 1964; "Teachers, Civic Group Hit Dr. C. Taylor Whittier over Strike Out on Staff Desegregation," Philadelphia Tribune, 26 December 1964; Oakes, "The School District of Philadelphia", 11.
(28.) Progress Report on the Program Fostering Integration, 7 January 1964, PFT Collection Box 24-Research Material Part II, Integration 1960-1969; "Teachers Non-Transfer Indefensible," Philadelphia Tribune (editorial), 10 September 1968; "Do Teachers Care about Education?" ibid. (editorial), 17 September 1968; "Third Group Sues Teacher Union over Refusal to Accept Transfers," ibid., 10 October 1968.
(29.) Odell, Educational Survey Report for the Philadelphia Board of Public Education, 289.
(30.) "Teachers Rap Whittier over Integration," Evening Bulletin, 20 December 1964; "Teachers, Civic Group Hit Dr. C. Taylor Whittier over Strike Out on Staff Desegregation," Philadelphia Tribune, 26 December 1964.
(31.) PFT Professional Policy Committee and PFT Executive Board, Teachers Security and School Integration, PFT Collection Box 24-Research Material Part II, Integration 1960-1969, Folder-School Integration Committee.
(32.) Ben Stahl, "Proposals for Next Steps in Philadelphia School Faculty Integration," PFT Collection Box 24-Research Material Part II, Integration 1960-1969, Folder-Integration.
(33.) Grosset, "Competitive Interest Group Politics," 65-71; Sanzare, A History of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, 65-67.
(34.) Sunday Bulletin Magazine, 22 March 1964, Evening Bulletin Clipping Collection, John A. Ryan Envelope.
(35.) Grosser, "Competitive Interest Group Politics," 106-12; Sanzare, A History of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, 70-73. The PFT Collection Box 15-Organizing Drive, 1965, contains correspondence between PFT authorities and labor union leaders expressing mutual financial, personnel, and ideological support of each other's aims.
(36.) "Teachers Union Maps Militant Drive Here," Philadelphia Inquirer, 23 August 1964.
(37.) "New Teachers President Urges Unionization Drive," Evening Bulletin, 20 August 1964.
(38.) "Teachers Union Says It Battled for Civil Rights," Evening Bulletin, 22 January 1965.
(39.) "We Agree Mr. President," Philadelphia Inquirer (public service announcement), 29 January 1965, 9.
(40.) "To the Citizens of Philadelphia," Philadelphia Inquirer (public service announcement), 21 January 1965, 13; "Case Histories Tell You the Difference," Philadelphia Inquirer (public service announcement), 25 January 1965, 13; "A Commitment to the Community," Philadelphia Inquirer (public service announcement), 28 January 1965, 28; "Tasks of Teachers in American Society," Philadelphia Inquirer (public service announcement), 31 January 1965, 31.
(41.) "Tasks of Teachers in American Society" (original emphasis).
(42.) Sanzare, A History of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, 86
(43.) "Tasks of Teachers in American Society."
(44.) "Teachers Should Support the PTA," Philadelphia Tribune (editorial), 23 January 1965, 7.
(45.) "The Voice of the People," Philadelphia Inquirer, Section 7, 31 January 1965, 4.
(46.) "Floyd Logan Blasts Both Teacher Unions," Philadelphia Tribune, 30 January 1965, 1ff.
(47.) "Teachers Union Says It Battled for Civil Rights," Evening Bulletin, 22 January 1965.
(48.) "Rustin Talks to Federation of Teachers," Evening Bulletin, 21 January 1965; "Teacher Groups in Battle over Support of Dr. King," ibid., 25 January 1965.
(49.) "Teacher Groups in Battle over Support of Dr. King," Evening Bulletin, 25 January 1965.
(50.) "King Clarifies Position on Teacher Vote," Evening Bulletin, 29 January 1965. King later reiterated his support of the PFT in a telegram to Federation president John Ryan, which read, "Regret confusion regarding my statement transmitted by Rustin I stand firmly by that statement and have so informed the Philadelphia Bulletin," (copy) PFT Collection Box 22-Subject Files 1960-1969, Folder-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Southern Christian Leadership.
(51.) "Phila Teachers Choose AFL-CIO by 5403-4671," Evening Bulletin, 2 February 1965.
(52.) PFT Collection Box 22-Subject Files, 1960-1969 contains volunteer and donation solicitation materials for support of Mississippi Freedom Schools and literature condemning violence against civil rights workers in Selma, Alabama.
(53.) Negotiation session, 1 April 1965 meeting minutes, 12; Negotiation session, 2 April 1965 meeting minutes, 16-17, PFT Collection Box 161-Negotiation Files, 1965-1969.
(54.) Negotiation session, 1 April 1965 meeting minutes, 12; Negotiation session, 30 July 1965 meeting minutes, 65; Negotiation session, 20 August 1965 meeting minutes, 88, PFT Collection Box 161-Negotiation Files, 1965-1969; Agreement between the Board of Public Education of the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Local 3 AFT AFL-CIO, effective 1 September 1965 to 31 August 1966, 13-17, PFT Collection Box 161-Negotiation Files, 1965-1969.
(55.) Agreement between the Board of Public Education and the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Local 3 AFT AFL-CIO, effective 1 September 1965 to 31 August 1966, 16; Coordinating Council on School Integration, 26 April 1965 meeting minutes, PFT Collection Box 22-Subject Files 1960-1969, Folder-CCSI.
(56.) PTA Front Page, 22 April 1965, Floyd Logan Collection, Temple University Urban Archives, Box 12; "Teachers Say They'll Fight Rather Than Switch for Bonus," Philadelphia Daily News, 15 April 1965; "Board Plans Faculty Desegregation," Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 April 1965.
(57.) "Teachers Say They'll Fight Rather Than Switch for Bonus," Philadelphia Daily News, 15 April 1965.
(58.) "NAACP Praises Tan Teachers for Not Seeking Transfers," Philadelphia Tribune, 1 October 1966.
(59.) Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission vs. the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Local #3, AFL-CIO, Docket No. S-45 (copy), 19 October 1966, PFT Collection Box 22-Subject Files, 1960-1969, Folder-HRC PA; "State Commission Cautiously 'Attacks' Volunteer Transfer Plan," Philadelphia Tribune, 29 October 1966; Agreement between the Board of Public Education and the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Local 3 AFT AFL-CIO, effective 1 September 1966 to 31 August 1968, 8-11, PFT Collection Box 14-Early Office Files, 1965
(60.) Oakes, "The School District of Philadelphia," 35-38.
(61.) "Forced Transfers Urged to Achieve Integrated Staff," Evening Bulletin, 14 October 1965; "State Unit Says School Board Discriminates," ibid., 25 October 1966; "Court Asked to Void Clause on Transferring Teachers," ibid., 28 October 1966; Journal of the Board of Public Education (Philadelphia, 1968), 348, 672-686. PFT Collection Box 60-Subject Files, 1976-1979, Folder-Voluntary Transfer Plan contains memoranda dated 27 May 1977, 1 May 1978, and 1 June 1979 from Murray Bookbinder, Executive Director of Personnel and Labor Relations to all school principals listing the number of schools still needing faculty integration and soliciting voluntary teacher transfers. PFT Collection Box 49-Subject Files contains memoranda dated 31 May 1978 and 8 June 1978 from Federation President Frank Sullivan to all school building union representatives directing union members not to cooperate with authorities from the U.S. Office of Civil Rights investigating integration of Philadelphia schools. See Eric C. Miller, "The Commonwealth Court Revisits School Desegregation and Decades of Failure Precipitates a Change of Strategy: Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission vs. School District of Philadelphia," The Widener Journal of Public Law 5 (1996): 703-15 for an examination of the judicial proceedings over school desegregation in Philadelphia.
(62.) Evening Bulletin, 17 November 1967. For accounts of the riot see Countryman, "Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia," 482-96, and Franklin, The Education of Black Philadelphia, 201. See also Jon S. Birger, "Race, Reaction, and Reform: The Three R's of Philadelphia School Politics, 1965-1971," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 120 (1996): 163-216, which examines how the riot eroded public confidence in administrative school reform initiatives.
(63.) "Negro Teachers' Group Supports Board, Asks Rizzo's Ouster," Evening Bulletin, 7 December, 1967; "150 Negro Teachers Leave Union Meeting in Protest," ibid., 16 December 1967; "Teacher Union Changes Stand on Pupil Rally," ibid., 2 January 1968; "Negro Teachers Ask Ouster of Union's Executive Board," ibid., 3 January 1968; Sanzare, A History, of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, 120-21. PFT leadership either was oblivious to or attempted to downplay the racial divisions within the union. Federation president Frank Sullivan alleged "the media ... played it up so that what was a relatively minor kind of movement [of black members forming a separate union] was blown up so that it looked as if the union were coming apart" (Quoted in Sanzare, 120). The groundswell of black teacher opposition to the Federation continued into 1968 as many more teachers left the union following the ratification of the contract that retained the seniority-based voluntary transfer program ("Negro Teachers Quitting Union," Philadelphia Tribune, 24 September 1968).
(64.) "24 Boycott West Phila Class as 'Not Relevant,' Teachers Threaten Strike," Evening Bulletin, 20 October 1969; "West Phila Principal Ask Teacher's Transfer," ibid., 22 October 1969; "Union Says Flunked Pupil Started Move to Shift Teacher," ibid., 27 October 1969; "Teachers Back Fishman with Vote to Strike," ibid., 28 October 1969; "1000 Sit Down in Protest at West Phila High," ibid., 29 October 1969; "Students Call Teacher Racist and Boycott Classes," Philadelphia Tribune, 21 October 1969; "Boycott W. Phila High School Teacher Says He Was Framed," ibid., 28 October 1969; "Board to Seek Injunction to Halt Teacher Boycott at W. Phila High," ibid., 4 November 1969.
(65.) "24 Boycott West Phila Class as 'Not Relevant,' Teachers Threaten Strike," Evening-Bulletin, 20 October 1969; "Union Says Flunked Pupil Started Move to Shift Teacher," ibid., 27 October 1969; "1000 Sit Down in Protest at West Phila High," ibid., 29 October 1969.
(66.) "Board to Meet 7 Pupils Over W. Phila Dispute," Evening Bulletin, 31 October 1969; "Controversial Teacher Stays at W. Phila Hi," Philadelphia Tribune, 11 November 1969; Journal of the Board o[ Education, (Philadelphia, 1969), 851-52.
(67.) Beginning in 1967, Superintendent Mark Shedd introduced several administrative reform initiatives that gained national attention. See, for example, Wallace Roberts, "Can Urban Schools Be Reformed?" Saturday Review 52 (17 May 1969): 20. See also, Birger, "Race, Reaction, and Reform."
(68.) School board president Richardson Dilworth indicted the union's "inflexible attitude" toward school reform following the Fishman case ("Teachers Federation 'Accused of Acting' to Arouse Students," Philadelphia Tribune, 15 November 1969). John E. Chubb and Terry M. Moe argue that educational institutions like school boards and teachers' unions must be reformed before any systemic school reform can be successful. See "The Root of the Problem," in Politics, Markets, and American Schools (Washington, D.C., 1990), 1-25.
(69.) Federation president Frank Sullivan expressed this concern at the height of the Fishman case ("24 Boycott West Phila Class as 'Not Relevant,' Teachers Threaten Strike," Evening Bulletin, 20 October 1969; "Union Says Flunked Pupil Started Move to Shift Teacher," ibid., 27 October 1969).
Rene Luis Alvarez is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Pennsylvania.
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