California Labor History
Golden Lands, Working Hands, a ten-part, three hour video series, introduces students, union members and the general public to California labor history in order to encourage understanding of the state's diverse working populations and their efforts to find common ground in struggles for social justice. It is meant to be shown one part at a time in conjunction with reading materials and lesson plans suitable for high school students, and for union members in new member programs.
While several fine videotapes exist on selected topics within California labor history, there has been no overview—until now. Golden Lands, Working Hands explores stories selected from more than a century and a half of struggle. Central themes examined by the video are the choices made by working people in the creation of their own organizations, and the consequences of these choices for improvement of working people's lives. Close attention is also paid to the ongoing recomposition of the California working class through immigration, beginning with the Gold Rush and continuing to the present day.
Much of this history has been unearthed through scholarship. But Golden Lands, Working Hands makes these ideas accessible to a broader audience. Golden Lands conveys a picture of working people of diverse background and culture who have, at crucial moments, overcome social barriers to achieve lives of common dignity in California.
Directed and written by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. Narrator: Joe Morton. Reenactments and other voices: Geoff Hoyle, Sharon Lockwood, Herbert Siguenza. Funding: More than 400 contributions from union locals, councils and internationals, mostly from California. Additional funding from California Council for the Humanities, PG&E, and Kaiser Permanente. On-line post-production services donated by KCSM TV.
Workers celebrate a "work holiday" in December 1946 during the Oakland General Strike. Click here for background on the 1946 Oakland General Strike, including a short video, lesson plans, and a chapter from a forthcoming book on California Labor History.