The DC Working Class History Seminar met in the Gelman Library Special Collections reading room on December 6, 2014. The seminar is a group of DC, Maryland and Virginia-based historians who meet several times per semester to discuss and critique members’ works-in-progress, i.e. journal articles and book/dissertation chapters. Participants occasionally come from farther afield: New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania for example. The draft article and chapter discussed at the Dec. 6 meeting were on topics of the J.P. Stevens organizing campaign ca. 1974 and the history of Latinos and Latinas in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
It happened that on December 6 the Teamsters Labor History Research Center room had been reserved for the national board meeting of the SNCC Legacy Project. The SNCC Legacy Project is a group of SNCC and civil rights movement veterans and friends who seek to insure the preservation of SNCC’s history in terms of personal and organizational archives and oral history.
When the SNCC Legacy board adjourned its meeting the historians were invited into the Teamsters room to introduce themselves and meet the SNCC Legacy board members. An impromptu roundtable discussion ensued with the historians (numbering about 15) identifying themselves, their institutions and their areas of research and teaching interest. (Several of them are historians of the civil rights movement. The historian whose work-in-progress concerned Latinos and Latinas in SNCC was particularly pleased to meet people who had witnessed the events she researched and wrote about.) On their part the SNCC Legacy people spoke of their experience and their current work of preserving the history of SNCC’s contributions to the civil rights movement and to American progressive politics in general.