In Solidarity With Those Who Share Our Purposes

This paper examines why the United Federation of Teacher's (UFT) got involved in with the Civil Rights Movement between 1963 and 1965. This was a complex moment for the UFT, a new organization in the old-left. Its membership, however was in some ways split between old-left values and the values of the emerging new left, which sought to achieve larger social justice ends. The UFT’s most important civil rights work occurred from 1963-65. This period coincided with the Civil Rights Movement’s most significant legislative achievements and Shanker’s rise to leadership within the UFT. It was the first time in which the UFT had the capacity to focus significant attention on larger issues after negotiating their first multiyear contract in 1963, which meant there was time off before new negotiations began.