Title: Oral History Interview with Lawrence Rogin, November 2, 1975. Interview E-0013.
Interviewer: Finger, William
Interviewee: Rogin, Lawrence
Subjects: Trade-unions--Officials and employees--Southern States--Education Trade-unions--Textile workers--Southern States
Abstract: Born in 1909, Lawrence Rogin grew up in New York with Russian Jewish immigrant parents. Rogin begins the interview by briefly discussing his family background, stressing the involvement of his parents and his aunt in radical politics. In 1926, Rogin entered Columbia University and became active in communist and socialist clubs on campus. In the process, he became increasingly interested in the labor movement and its association with radical politics. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, while he was finishing graduate work in political science, Rogin began to participate directly in the labor movement. He discusses his work at the Brookwood Labor College in Katonah, New York, and with the Central Labor Union in Reading, Pennsylvania. It was his experience with these two organizations that gave Rogin a firm foundation in labor education. Around 1937, he accepted a position with the Hosiery Workers Union, and he began to help organize hosiery workers throughout the South. He continued in this position until 1956, during which time he was primarily based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He describes his initial perceptions of the South, his thoughts on the state of the textile industry in that region, and labor education workshops held throughout the South. In addition to outlining mill conditions and assessing particular strikes, Rogin describes the leadership role of such activists as Emil Rieve, George Baldanzi, Scott Hoyman, Alfred "Tiny" Hoffman, Myles Horton, Joe Pedigo, and Roy Lawrence. After leaving the Hosiery Workers Union in 1956, Rogin worked as the education director of the AFL-CIO and taught at Wayne State University. He concludes the interview with a brief assessment of the importance of labor education and its neglect by the American labor movement.