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Musicians and the Question of Integration: An Analysis of Factors that Led to Integrating the Musicians' Unions in Chicago
Advisorde Jong, Greta
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This thesis examines the factors that led to the integration of Locals 10 and 208, musicians’ unions in Chicago, Illinois. I argue that, especially within Local 208, the Black musicians’ union, the debate about whether or not to integrate the unions was more complicated and nuanced than the activists working towards or against integration let on in interviews and in the newspapers in any given article. Documentary evidence suggests that the debate about whether to integrate the unions or not took on dimensions beyond race and involved the participants’ and their various organizations’ identities related to class, education, and understanding of the history of musicians in Chicago. Furthermore, a close analysis of an unpublished manuscript by Charles Walton, a member of the Black Local 208, indicates that, while reflecting on the 1966 integration of the two unions, musicians and other people close to the process of integrating the unions demonstrated that many of the reservations the separatists had were later realized. The final chapter examines the short-term and long-term outcomes of integrating the unions.