The American Federation of Teachers, 1916-1961: a history of the movement

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Southern Illinois University Press, Nov 1, 1975 - Business & Economics - 240 pages

This first book-length history of the AFT pro­vides a comprehensive view of events which have shaped teacher activism and of issues which have defined the AFT’s role in teacher unionism.


From its turbulent beginnings in 1916 in Chicago, where the seeds of the movement took root, to the 1961 teacher strike in New York City, which proved the union’s effec­tiveness, the American Federation of Teach­ers union has provided a simulacrum of industrial organizational patterns common to the labor movement in this country. De­riving its principal strength from such modes, the AFT was crisis oriented from the start, and is thus distinguished from its rival union the NEA, a more conservative, pro­fession-oriented group.


From original, unpublished sources, in­cluding the AFT’s files, and from personal interviews, William E. Eaton has made an original, and significant, contribution to our understanding of current problems in educa­tion. As a new kind of revolution seems to be changing the fabric of our school system, this is an important book for our time.

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About the author (1975)

William Edward Eaton is an Assistant Professor of Educational Administration and Foundations at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

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