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Southern Labor Archives: Voices of Labor Oral History Project: J

Interviews with labor leaders from Georgia and across the South.

Joye, Harlon

Harlon Joye


Interviewed by: Philip A. LaPorte; May 9, 2006, and June 16, 2006

Transcript information: 80 pages-part 1(6 Digital Copies), 73 pages-parts 2 and 3 combined (2 Digital Copies)

Accession No: L2006-09


Biographical Information:

Born in Summerville, South Carolina, to "common working pepole," Harlon Joye moved to Orangeburg, South Carolina, in 1936 and graduated from Orangeburg High School. He briefly attended Clemson but finished his forestry degree at the University of Michigan. Joye also studied economics at the International Graduate School for English Speaking Students, University of Stockholm. Upon his return to the United States, he studied at the New School for Social Research in New York; there he studied economics and sociology. He moved to Atlanta from New York in 1966 and became involved in the labor and other progressive movements and pursuits, including WRFG, Atlanta's progressive radio station. He worked as a public sector union official for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 1644.



Harlon Joye discusses his activist work in Atlanta and around the south from the 1960s through the 2000s. He was hired in 1983 by AFSCME to recruit new members and has worked for AFSCME as a newspaper editor, organizer, union administrator, city govermnet monitor, and advocate. He talks about the labor movement in the South, city workers in Atlanta, and strikes, including the Sanitation Workers Strike of 1977.

Much of the discussion focuses on public sector union representation; the administrations of mayors Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, Bill Campbell, and Shirley Franklin; monitoring the work of the city government (Atlanta City Council); race relations in Atlanta's labor community and activist community; and the relationship between AFSCME and other government unions in Atlanta (Professional Association of City Employees, International Brotherhood of Police Officers, International Association of Fire Fighters, and the Police Benevolent Association).


Unions, people and organizations discussed: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; Southern Student Organizing Committee; Students for a Democratic Society; Southern Labor Action Movement; Great Speckled Bird; Maynard Jackson; Andrew Young; Bill Campbell; Shirley Franklin, both in her role as Chief Administrative Officer and City Manager under Mayor Andrew Young, and as mayor of Atlanta; James McKinney, president of AFSCME Local 1644; James Howard, Atlanta City Council and AFSCME Administrator.


Special Collections and Archives

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Southern Labor Archives

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Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3202

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