From Depression-era protests to twenty-first century marches, Ethel Baskin Schwartz dedicated her life to organizing and fighting for unions and civil rights. Schwartz tried to attend her first protest against hunger at age fourteen, but was prevented from doing so by her worried parents. Undeterred, she helped organize Detroit’s Save Our Schools campaigns in the 1930s and was fired by a grocery store for trying to organize her fellow workers. She became a secretary for the United Auto Workers Tool and Die Amalgamated Local 157 in 1940, going on to serve in various roles in the union over the next 50 years. She marched for civil rights, was the first chair of the Redford Township Assembly for Human Relations, and went to Washington DC to hear Martin Luther King Jr. give his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. She also helped found the Coalition of Labor Union Women in 1974. She received a lifetime achievement award from the Grey Panthers two days before her death in 2012. After her death, a scholarship was established in her name at Wayne State University.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Ethel Baskin Schwartz." (Viewed on January 25, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/schwartz-ethel>.