Social History for Every Classroom


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An African-American Man Protests Labor Discrimination at Bowman Dairy

In 1937, African-American activists in Chicago founded the Negro Labor Relations League to put pressure on companies that refused to hire black workers. The League's campaigns targeted newspapers (to promote black newscarriers), movie theaters (to hire black projectionists), and dairies. This photo is from that successful campaign, where in addition to picketing the League asked black Chicagoans to boycott white drivers and stores selling products from "Jim Crow dairies." Bowman's Dairy was one of the city's largest suppliers of dairy products and a major employer. Such pickets and "don't buy where you can't work" consumer boycotts took place in black neighborhoods in many U.S. cities during from the 1920s through the 1940s.

Source |

John Vachon, "Carrying a sign in front of a milk company, Chicago, Illinois," July 1941, Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Creator |

John Vachon

Item Type | Photograph
Cite This document | John Vachon, “An African-American Man Protests Labor Discrimination at Bowman Dairy,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed November 30, 2023,

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