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Barker, Mary Cornelia (20 January 1879–15 September 1963), schoolteacher and teachers' union leader, schoolteacher and teachers’ union leader, was born in Rockmart, Georgia, the daughter of Thomas Nathaniel Barker, a teacher and small businessman, and Dora Elizabeth Lovejoy, a teacher. After spending her early years in rural Rockmart, Barker moved with her family to Atlanta, where she attended the public schools. She went on to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, from which she received a diploma for completing the normal course in 1900....

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Borchardt, Selma Munter (01 December 1895–30 January 1968), educator and labor leader, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Newman Borchardt, a soldier and government official, and Sara Munter. She completed a B.S. in education at Syracuse University in 1919 and received an A.B. from the same university in 1922. In 1933 she graduated from Washington College of Law (later known as American University College of Law), and in 1934 she was admitted to the Washington, D.C., Bar Association. In 1944 Borchardt had the honor of being admitted to the Supreme Court bar. In 1937 she received an M.A. in sociology from Catholic University and went on to complete all the requirements for a Ph.D. in sociology except the dissertation....

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Coit, Eleanor Gwinnell (06 May 1894–07 June 1976), labor educator and leader in adult education, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Henry Leber Coit, a pediatrician and pure-milk reformer, and Emma Gwinnell. She grew up in Newark, attended public schools, and followed an older sister to Smith College, from which she was graduated with an A.B. in history and English in 1916....

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Albert Shanker. President of the United Federation of Teachers, holding a report from mediators to Mayor Robert Wagner that helped to stop a strike threatened by teachers. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Shanker, Albert (14 September 1928–22 February 1997), teacher and union leader, was born in New York City, the son of Morris Shanker, a union newspaper deliveryman and a former rabbinical student from Poland, and Mamie Burko Shanker, a sewing-machine operator. The son of immigrants whose first language was Yiddish, Shanker grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Queens, where he learned the benefits of trade unionism from his parents and the effects of prejudice from neighbors of predominantly Irish and Italian extraction. He attended local public schools and entered the University of Illinois in Urbana after graduating from Manhattan's prestigious Stuyvesant High School. While attending Illinois, Shanker became politically active by joining the Young People's Socialist League and picketing segregated restaurants and movie theaters in the community....

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Tenayuca, Emma (21 December 1916–23 July 1999), labor organizer, community activist, school teacher, was born in San Antonio, Texas, the first daughter of eleven children born to Sam Tenayuca and Benita Hernandez Zepeda. Her parents had eleven children and to relieve their economic burden, the maternal grandparents raised some of the children, including Emma. Her grandfather worked as a carpenter and followed politics. Tenayuca developed an early understanding of transnational politics when, at age seven, she was taken to the ...

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Wertheimer, Barbara Mayer (07 November 1925–20 September 1983), labor educator, was born in New York City, the daughter of Max Mayer, a surgeon, and Eleanor Sanford, a photographer, social worker, and dog breeder. She grew up on the Upper West Side and began her career in the labor movement upon graduation from Oberlin College in 1946. That year she married college classmate Valentin Wertheimer, who spent his life working for unions and in 1966 became a vice president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. They had two children....