Believing in a Union She Couldn’t Join

My grandmother came to poverty in her 30’s. She was through dint of circumstance forced to work as a domestic housekeeper and this was a woman who did the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in ink in something under an hour. Being a black woman in Texas in the 1950’s comes with severe drawbacks. She worked 12 and 15 hour days and she would say from time to time: “If I had a union I wouldn’t have to do this… but I’m alone and one person by themselves is worth what their master makes of them.” So all her days she believed in unions that she could not join. She was the first person to tell me about the Pullman strike and the first person to tell me about A. Phillip Randolph. When I do this work I think of her and the life she knew she could not have that she was so very proud that I was and still am fighting for… a better world that is union strong.