New Winston Museum Kicks off Quarterly Salon Series
“Civil Rights Activism in Winston-Salem: Local 22 and Law Enforcement”
On Thursday, April 28, 2016 – 5:30pm New Winston Museum will present the quarterly Salon Series panel discussion, “Civil Rights Activism in Winston-Salem: Local 22 and Law Enforcement.” Special guests Dr. Robert Korstad (author of Civil Rights Unionism) and Richard Koritz (son of Philip Koritz, Local 22 director, and board member for the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro) will discuss the union’s activity in Winston-Salem. The discussion will have a special focus on the union’s interactions with the local police department and the criminal justice system. The discussion will be moderated by Alex Harris, a Salem College student and North Carolina native. This event will be the first of a three-part salon series on twentieth century civil rights activism in Winston-Salem.
Local 22 was a union of primarily black tobacco manufacturing workers that was part of a larger movement to achieve labor reform for the employees of the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. Local 22 consisted of 10,000 tobacco workers; it was racially integrated, but most of them were black and almost all of them were poor. The police department in 1940s Winston-Salem had been known to target poor and black residents as well as those who were deemed “agitators,” so its relationship with Local 22 was particularly volatile.
The union had several altercations with the Winston-Salem police department that ended in violence. The most notable of these interactions is an August 1946 that resulted in the arrest of several Local 22 members including director Philip Koritz. When they went to trial, the all-white jury voted to convict them of resisting arrest; appeals based on racial discrimination failed, and the union members were sentenced to several months of incarceration.
This event is free and open to the public. New Winston Museum is located at 713 S. Marshall Street, Winston-Salem. Additional parking is available in the Old Salem Visitors Center lot.
About New Winston Museum
The Mission of New Winston Museum is to preserve, promote, and present the dynamic history and diverse stories of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County community through education and collaboration. Museum hours are Monday-Friday from Noon-5 pm and Saturday from 10am-2pm. Admission is free and donations are gladly accepted. Please visit the web site at www.newwinston.org or call 336.724.2842.