James-AndrewsJames Andrews, President, North Carolina Chapter of the AFL-CIO

Andrews grew up in a segregated community in Warren County, North Carolina. As a young boy, he grew up working on his parents’ farm. During his childhood, James’ father was an activist for the NAACP, a reality that exposed him to the life of a social advocate. After finishing high school, Andrews moved to Raleigh, enrolling in divinity courses at Shaw University, but was eventually drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. He spent two years in the service and was awarded the Purple Heart after being injured in combat. After returning from the war, Andrews began working at a pickle plant in Henderson, North Carolina, where he began to interact with labor organizing. Over years of work, James began his rise in the ranks of the AFL-CIO, eventually becoming the first African American president of the North Carolina chapter. In this interview, Andrews takes an in-depth look at the history of the labor movement in NC, the state of unions today, and the challenges we will likely confront in the future.

 

The entire interview is available in the Duke Human Rights Archive.