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AFL-CIO Region 8 records

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AFL-CIO Region 8 records

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AFL-CIO Region 8:

A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library

Georgia State University
Georgia State University
Special Collections and Archives
100 Decatur St., SE
Atlanta, GA 30303-3202
Fax: 404-413-2881

May 2001

Profile Description

Creation: Text converted and initial EAD tagging provided by Apex Data Services, May 2001.
Language: English

Collection Summary

Repository: Georgia State University Library, Special Collections and Archives, Atlanta
Creator: AFL-CIO. Region 8.
Title: AFL-CIO Region 8 records
Dates: 1930-1974
Quantity: 12.4 linear feet
Abstract:AFL-CIO Region 8 records, 1930-1974, include correspondence, minutes, reports, legal papers, conference materials, membership cards, and printed materials. The collection pertains to the career of long-time labor organizer and Region 8 Director, Paul R. Christopher (1910-1974).
Identification: L1984-70

Organization of the Records

Series I: Correspondence, 1930-1972
Series II: Operational Records, 1935-1973
Series III: Financial Records, 1931-1973
Series IV: Printed Materials, 1936-1974
Series V: Personal Papers, 1943-1971
Oversize storage

Scope and Content of the Records

The AFL-CIO Region 8 records, spanning 1930 to 1974, include correspondence, minutes, reports, legal papers, conference materials, membership cards, and printed materials. The collection pertains to the career of long-time labor organizer Paul R. Christopher, 1910-1974, who first joined the United Textile Workers in North Carolina in 1932 and who later worked with the CIO, 1937-1955 and the AFL-CIO, 1955-1974. The collection is arranged by type of record and organized in five series.

In addition to these series, the records also include many items such as periodicals, constitutions, contracts, pamphlets, and proceedings as well as non-print items such as photographs and artifacts. These items have been stored separately in the department's Printed Collection and Non-print Collection.

Biography of Paul R .Christopher, Director

Paul Christopher was born February 14, 1910 in the Alice Mill Village in Easley, Pickens County, South Carolina. His father, Clarence Erasker Christopher, was a loom fixer and his mother Mary Jane (Hemphill) Christopher also worked in the Alice Mill. Young Christopher moved with his family to Greenville, South Carolina, was enrolled in a company grammar school (Poe Mill), and later attended Greenville's Parker District High School. At age fourteen, Christopher began work in the F.W. Poe Manufacturing Company, remaining in the mills (by his own account, at least six "cotton and rayon weaving mills" [letter from subject to George Mitchell, Executive Director, Southern Regional Council, Inc., 11/23/55, Southern Labor Archives, Georgia State University Library]) until 1933, except for a period from 1930 to 1932 when he attended Clemson Agricultural College (now University), studying textile engineering. Shortly after leaving Clemson, Christopher met and married Mary Elizabeth Lybrand on August 13, 1932.

Upon returning to the cotton mills as a weaver, Christopher joined the United Textile Workers of America (UTWA) and quickly rose from within the ranks to the presidency of his local. In 1933 he secured employment as a full-time organizer and technical advisor for the UTWA, a post which he held until April, 1937. During these years, Christopher participated in a host of organizing campaigns, boycotts, and strikes, including the 1934 General Textile Strike. In recognition of his organizing abilities and leadership qualities, the North Carolina Federation of Textile Workers elected him president in 1934.

When the Congress of Industrial Organizations left the American Federation of Labor and began massive organizing drives among America's industrial workers, Christopher lent his support as an organizer and technical advisor to the Textile Workers Organizing Committee (TWOC), chartered in 1937. After a two year organizing campaign, stymied by the "Roosevelt Recession," the TWOC was re-chartered as the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA), and Christopher was elected a national vice-president, a position he held until 1941, while serving concurrently as TWUA South Carolina State Director.

In September 1940, Christopher moved to Tennessee with his wife and two daughters, Sara Jane and Patricia Ellen, there becoming executive secretary-treasurer of the CIO-affiliated Tennessee Industrial Union Council. Christopher was made CIO Tennessee State Director in 1942, a post he retained until being appointed CIO Region 4 (Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia) Director in 1953. Throughout the 1940s, Christopher held many concurrent administrative positions within the state and regional CIO, including Acting Southeastern Director for the CIO -Political Action Committee (1944 - 1946) and Tennessee State Southern Organizing Committee State Director during the Southern Organizing Drive, popularly known as "Operation Dixie." Following the merger of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1955, Christopher was appointed Director of AFL-CIO Region 8 (Tennessee and Kentucky) and remained in that post until his death in early 1974.

In addition to his career as a trade unionist, Christopher served in numerous social welfare agencies, educational organizations, and conferences and conventions covering a wide range of subjects. During World War II Christopher became associated with the following government agencies: Advisory Commission, Training-Within-Industry Division; War Manpower Commission, Region IX; Board of Directors, Tennessee War Fund; Tennessee War Services Council; Advisory Commission, Tennessee State Planning Commission; Knoxville (Tennessee) Area War Manpower Commission Labor Management Commission; National War Labor Board, Fourth (Southeast) Region; and Office of Price Administration Labor Advisory Committee.

Interested in labor education, Christopher was a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Summer School for Workers and the Executive Council of the Highlander Folk School. Community work evidenced itself in his membership on the Board of Directors, Knox County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Knoxville Community Chest, and he held membership in a number of civil rights organizations, including the Southern Conference for Human Welfare and the Southern Regional Council. A Democratic Party member and Unitarian, Christopher also held membership in fraternal organizations such as the Elks, Moose, and Young Men's Christian Association. While serving in many capacities in governmental, educational, community, and church organizations not directly connected with his work as a trade union leader, Christopher, revealed in his papers, pursued avocations as a stamp collector, ham radio operator, pilot, and "weekend" farmer.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Georgia State University Library online catalog (GIL). Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

AFL-CIO--Region 8.
Textile Workers Union of America.
United Textile Workers of America.


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Administrative Information


[item], [folder title], [series title], AFL-CIO Region 8 records, L1984-70, Southern Labor Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Related Material

Related materials in this repository: Related collections held by the Southern Labor Archives include the AFL-CIO Region 8 Records, 1933-1969 (L1974-15) and AFL-CIO Region 5 and Region 8 Records, 1940-1974 (L1985-38). Both were donated by Paul Christopher.

On Paul Christopher, see Southern Labor Archives Biography Files, available in the Reading Room, and Joseph Yates Garrison's Paul Revere Christopher: Southern Labor Leader, 1910-1974 (Ph.D. dissertation, Georgia State University), available in the Georgia State University Library.

Separated Material

Separated material: During processing, oversize items, photographic material, artifacts, and printed material were separated to other Southern Labor Archives collections. See List of Separated Material following Detailed Description of the Collection.

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