John L. Lewis’s Union Badge, 1936

“John Lewis, one of America’s foremost labor leaders, wore this badge at the 1936 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) convention. Born in an Iowa coal-mining camp, Lewis went to work in the mines at age fifteen. He rose quickly as a labor leader, becoming president of the UMWA in 1920, and later helped found the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Lewis led a successful struggle to organize industrial workers, improving wages, safety, and benefits.”

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Treasures of American History: American Biography. Online.





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