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AFL-CIO Region 8 (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Region 5 records

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AFL-CIO Region 8 (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Region 5 records

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AFL-CIO Region 5 and Region 8 (Atlanta and Knoxville offices) [accession L1985-38]:

A Guide to Their 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 (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Title:AFL-CIO Region 8 (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Region 5 records
Dates: 1940-1974 (bulk 1956-1974)
Quantity: 25.4 linear ft.
Abstract:In 1955 when the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) merged, it created AFL-CIO Region 8 encompassing Tennessee and Kentucky with Paul Christopher as Director. North and South Carolina became part of Region 5 directed by Carey Haigler. The 1964 reorganization of the AFL-CIO placed Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina in Region 8 with Christopher as Director and Haigler as Assistant Director. After Christopher’s death in 1974, Region 8 states were placed under Region 5 with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. The collection consists of records of AFL-CIO Region 8 (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Region 5 (Charlotte, N.C.) from 1940-1974.
Identification: L1985-38

Organization of the Records

Scope and Content of the Records

The AFL-CIO Region 5 and Region 8 records, spanning 1940 to 1974 but bulking between 1956 to 1974, include correspondence, reports, financial records, printed material and photographs. The collection pertains to the operation of the AFL-CIO regional offices in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina. These offices coordinated AFL-CIO activities in Region 5 (North Carolina and South Carolina), 1956-1964, under the direction of Carey E. Haigler, and in Region 8 (North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee), 1964-1974, under the direction of Paul R. Christopher. There are a few records, notably the activity and expense reports of Arthur J. Potter, assistant regional director of Region 8, pertaining to AFL-CIO activities in Kentucky, 1956-1963. The collection is arranged by function and organized in eight series.

Biography of Paul R. Christopher

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" 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 1964 Region 8 was reorganized to include Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.)

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. His participation in community work included membership on the Board of Directors, Knox County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Knoxville Community Chest. He belonged to 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 pursued avocations as a stamp collector, ham radio operator, pilot, and "weekend" farmer.

Carey Elbert Haigler was born at Ensley Station, Birmingham, Alabama, on August 9, 1902. His father, Frank Hampton Haigler, moved in 1888 from Letohatchee, Alabama, where he was a farmer, to Birmingham, where he worked with the railroad, in construction, and in coal mining. Carey Haigler's mother was Mary Alma Zeigler Haigler from Fort Deposit, Alabama. Haigler married Sammie Louise Lusk in 1935; they had one son, Carey E. Haigler, Jr.

Haigler began work at age fifteen; between 1917 and 1934 he worked variously in coal and iron mining, the chemical industry, railroading, and steel making. Having joined the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers, he served his local union as corresponding secretary from 1933 to 1935. In 1934 he was elected president of his local (now Steelworkers Local Union 1131) and was discharged from his company the next day. After eighteen months of unemployment, Haigler joined the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he remained until 1942. In February 1942 he began work as a field representative with the Steelworkers Organizing Committee which in May 1942 became the United Steelworkers of America, CIO. During the period 1942-1944, he served as Assistant Regional Director of the Alabama CIO, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alabama CIO Council, and President of the Alabama CIO Council. From 1944 to 1953 he worked as a Regional Director of the CIO and in 1946 added responsibilities as the Alabama State Director of the CIO Organizing Committee which is popularly known as "Operation Dixie." In 1953 Haigler became Field Assistant to the Executive Vice President of the CIO and served for a time as Acting National Director of the CIO Organizing Committee. With the AFL-CIO merger in December 1955, Haigler moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, and took over as Director of Region 5, AFL-CIO (North and South Carolina), holding that office until March 1964. At that time he became Assistant Regional Director of Region 8 with responsibility for North and South Carolina. Haigler retired from that office in July 1967.

Carey Haigler's other activities included the Regional War Labor Board, World War II Veterans State Educational Fund, Alabama Hospital Advisory Council, and the Alabama State Licensing Board for General Contractors.

Beginning in 1953, Paul Christopher, located in Knoxville, Tennessee, headed the CIO's Region 4 office with responsibilities for organizing activities in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The merger of the AFL with the CIO in December 1955 brought the creation of AFL-CIO Region 8 which encompassed Tennessee and Kentucky. Christopher continued as Regional Director with Arthur J. Potter as Assistant Director in the sub-regional office in Louisville, Kentucky. Meanwhile, North and South Carolina came under AFL-CIO Region 5 with Carey Haigler as Regional Director in Charlotte, North Carolina. A March 1964 reorganization of the AFL-CIO regional structure placed Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina in Region 8 under Christopher. Haigler continued as Assistant Director in the sub-regional office in Charlotte. Kentucky's office under Arthur Potter was reassigned to Region 9. After Christopher's death in early 1974, Region 8 states were placed under Region 5 headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

The regional offices in Regions 5 and 8 employed several field representatives who would assist international union representatives in organizing activities. These agents included Melville Kress, B.T. Judd, Nicholas H. Kurko, Guy Phelps, and W. E. Roehl, all of whom worked in Tennessee; A. E. Brown, John R. Graham, Elijah L. Jackson, George Kiser, and Raymond J. Schnell worked in North Carolina; and Lloyd P. Vaugh focused on South Carolina. Other agents who also worked under Paul Christopher and Carey Haigler included Robert W. Christofferson, W.A. Copeland, Edward C. Gordon, Henry White, W.C. Burcham, Hollis Hales, Lewis F. Shipman, and Curtis Bullock. Many of these southern field representatives came from the old CIO organization and had worked in the CIO's "Operation Dixie." These included Melville Kress, B.T. Judd, Nicholas Kurko, Elijah Jackson, and Raymond J. Schnell. Elijah Jackson was a black organizer and was frequently asked to cultivate black workers. In 1966 Nicholas, originally a member of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, became director of AFL-CIO Region 6 in Texas. By the late 1960's and early 1970s, the AFL-CIO Organization Department was cutting back on the number of regional field representatives. For example, Melville Kress retired in 1971 and was not replaced. Christopher wrote Haigler that at that time the staff was short thirty field representatives.

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.

Christopher, Paul.
Haigler, Carey.
Kirkland, J. Lane (Joseph Lane), 1923-
Meany, George, 1894-1980.
Schnitzler, F. William (Frank William), 1904-
Labor unions--Southern States--Local unions.
Industrial relations--United States.
Labor leaders--Southern States.
Labor unions--Southern States--Officials and employees.
Labor unions--Organizing--Southern States.
North Carolina--Labor--Trade-unions.
South Carolina--Labor--Trade-unions.


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

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

Administrative Information


[item], [folder title], [series title], AFL-CIO Region 8 (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Region 5 records, L1985-38, Southern Labor Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the George Meany Archives.

Processing Information

Processed by Lee Sayrs, Anne L. Tilden, and Robert C. Dinwiddie.

Related Material

Related materials in this repository: Related collections held by the Southern Labor Archives include the AFL-CIO Region 8 Records (L1974-15; L1984-70), and the Carey Haigler Papers (L1977-33).

On Paul Christopher, see Southern Labor Archives Biography File, A-L, in the Reading Room; and Joseph Yates Garrison's Paul Revere Christopher: Southern Labor Leader, 1910-1974 (Ph. D. dissertation, Georgia State University, 1976).

Separated Material

Separated material: During processing, some material was separated to other Southern Labor Archives collections.

Included in the collection but added to the Southern Labor Archives Constitution Collection were a large number of union constitutions. Additionally, a number of contracts and periodicals appearing in the collection were added to the Contracts and Periodicals Collections. A few photographs and negatives appeared, some pertaining to a strike against Krispy Kreme led by the Bakery and Confectionary Workers.

See List of Separated Material following Detailed Description of the Collection.

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