In August 1963 community members and leaders protested outside of the Jefferson Bank headquarters to shine a light on a bank that refused to hire Blacks for white collar jobs. That turned out to be one of the largest civil disobedience protests in the region. Nineteen folks spent from 60 days to a year behind bars to pressure the bank into hiring Blacks.
People often ask why we continue to commemorate the protest… Here are our top five reasons:
- Jefferson Bank is still behind in hiring practices.
- The state legislature continues to attack the Black worker by passing Senate Bill 43 which makes it harder to sue your employer for discrimination.
- The state legislature passed right to work law–weakening unions, one of the few tools Blacks have on the job to stand up to the bosses.
- The state of Missouri has continued to ignore a contract that state home care workers bargained for higher wages and better working contracts with agencies.
- In 2014 community, faith leaders, and politicians came together again to raise the minimum wage on the local level. In 2017 the state repealed a raise for minimum wage workers in city of pulling money directly out of the pockets of 35,000 of St. Louis’ lowest paid workers.
Fifty-four years later and we are still fighting issues that directly impact black workers. Until the 55th anniversary commemorative protest, get involved in workers’ issues like the ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage for the state.