The Flint Sit-Down Strike Audio Presentation

There's one thing that you must remember, uh... yes, the thirty-four, thirty-three, the NRA and so on and the thiry-four, the newest strike that was sold out, that was negative. We had a sna... we had to really pound these guys out of that, those ideas of... they were so, they were so against the ideas... they would ask "what are, are you in the A-F'n-L?" You know, they would say, "F'n-L" and uh, we'd say, "well, yes and no."

If we said yes, [inaudible] but we had to tell them that well, we're in it, but we really are independant and we don't trust them any more than you do. And then another thing I said, I think in the book that uh... when we'd mention John L. Lewis, they didn't trust him either if they were old miners.

[interviewer] Ahh... because he was anit-progressive.

All that... listen, what a record he had. So we had to argue with them. A guy like Hillinger though, who was an old miner, he would say, "well I know, I went once through it, I got booted out, you know," he said, "But now I know he's different." He was really very helpfull.

[woman] But generally I would say politically, even the [inaudible] the people, the women especially, they didn't know a thing about what was going on in the country and what was going on in the world even less. They didn't know about Spain, they didn't know anything, except these few individuals that we just mentioned, you know. Who knew too much.

America was their, their country, American flag was their flag, they are the best, it was the best, they didn't know anything about anything else, absolutely.

Do you think this was largely due to their isolation?

[inaudible] We found one thing; I used to go around to the homes and I never saw a book in any of these homes. [Kraus] The bible, you'd see the Bible. I'd see a couple of magazines, childrens magazines, you know, with the comics at that time already, but never any books. There was no such thing as bookcase.

Listen, I had to argue with the guys about the uh... not the AF-of-L, but the organization that hired stool pigeons... Pinkerton's? They thought Pinkerton's, "gee these are heros." I once... I learned [inaudbible] when they'd say "but the guys at Pinkerton's... don't you... [inaudible]. What's wrong with that?"

Show Transcript Speaker: Henry Kraus. Interviewed by U-M Flint Labor History Project. Date of interview: 5-5-1982. Edited by Michael Van Dyke.

Copyright: ©2002 Michigan State University.