These Black Electricians Started Their Own Union When They Were Denied From Others

black technician working with hardware
Via Pexels
Adé Hennis
February 2, 2024

An electrician and his stepchild sparked a movement that blazed a path for our people to get the education and employment they deserve. This movement would unify us to create something special.

Sam Taylor taught himself how to be an electrician because no school or vocational program would admit him. Once trained, he started an underground movement to teach Black people the electrician trade. One student was vital in Taylor’s movement: 11-year old Charles Stewart.

After learning from Taylor himself, Stewart broke down a color barrier by earning admission to Greer College, one of the country’s top trade schools. Then in 1922, the duo founded Taylor Electric Company, which gave our people across Chicago employment. But there was still something missing.

Our people were denied membership to labor unions, so Taylor and Stewart men gathered 50 Black electricians and started their own, knowing that together we are stronger against discrimination. While the union doesn’t exist anymore, its impact on Black people still lives on with the Taylor Electric Company.

Sam Taylor and Charles Stewart created financial and educational opportunities for Black people, but also brought us together as a collective, making us stronger. What are other areas of life should we unionize?