For All Workers: The Legacy of the Texas Labor Movement, 1838-2010 opened on May 17th and is inspired by J.W. Jackson’s generous donations of labor archives records and personal papers.

J.W. Jackson posing at the door of the Carpenters Local 977 new union hall in Wichita Falls, c. 1980In the 1960s, J.W. Jackson began compiling and cataloging multiple boxes of labor records stored in the basement of the Wichita Falls Labor Temple; in the 1980s, when he retired, his purchase of the Carpenters Local 977 union hall prevented the destruction of all of these historic records. This collection was donated to the university in 2009, culminating a 40-year effort to acquire these materials. The records of the numerous Wichita Falls labor unions, as well as J.W. Jackson’s personal papers, provide a window into the impact of labor in a small Texas town.

This exhibit, which highlights records and papers from J.W. Jackson’s donation, also includes treasures from the Texas Labor Archives. Labor union signage, photos, letters, membership materials, posters, and strike signs are just some of the highlights that can be seen in the exhibit.

The exhibit is divided into 3 sections. The first explains what labor unions are and why they are important. The second shows the importance of the labor movement as seen through the life of J.W. Jackson. The last section concludes with accounts of labor events that have impacted Texas history. This exhibit shows that the labor movement, a little-known aspect of Texas history, is nevertheless inextricably intertwined with the legacy of what it means to be a Texan, shaping the makeup of who we as a state are today.

Tex-Son striker Ofelia Bowers being arrested by San Antonio policeThe exhibit was curated by Claire Galloway,and in the near future Claire will be organizing a tour of the exhibit. Anyone are welcomed to attend and I’ll be sure to post it here we get it scheduled. If you need anymore information on the exhibit you can contact me at 817-272-2179 or Claire at 817-272-7511.