Child of the Sit-Downs: The Revolutionary Life of Genora Dollinger
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A biography of prominent labor reformer and early feminist Genora Dollinger. Dollinger helped create the Women's Emergency Brigade in 1937, in support of strikers at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan. In the 1960s she worked closely with the NAACP and ACLU, acting as a link between the labor and feminist movements.
segment of her heart by drug therapy. Her prescription bill ran to $250 a month and the state-of-the art equipment her doctors used ranged from $159 to $219 for each visit. “Thank the gods,” she proclaimed, “we have private insurance covering the latter.” She stored her wheelchair in the family garage and refused to use it until shortly before her death in 1995. 42. Michael Parks, “After 60 Years, Soviets Air New View of Trotsky’s Role,” Los Angeles Times, Sept. 10, 1988. 43. Genora to Don and
faring at the hands of the sit-downers. “I saw . . . holes in the glass [of Fisher One] and dents in the metal sides. I thought these indicated wanton violence against my property, and asked how it occurred. Gun fire by the police, was the answer.” These shots had been fired toward the second floor of Fisher One, “endangering the lives of my employees, whom I was beginning to like though they were on strike.”21 These sights infuriated Genora as much as Mr. Lovett, but mostly she railed against
Pengelly Building and mentioned—unfortunately without documentation—a confrontation that had occurred between workers and GM president William Knudsen just before Christmas. Because the workers were “a bunch of slobs,” he reportedly said, they would not get any Christmas bonuses. The workers supposedly told him what he could do with his bonuses and began shouting “Knuts to Knudsen!” Rose Pesotta, an official with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, also spoke to the EBs, and novelist
had accomplished. She resolved to keep the memories alive; it is the purpose of this biography to show how and why she did it. Despite ridicule, personal tragedies, and balancing work and home, Genora Dollinger—by the time of her death in 1995—had finessed most of her detractors. I have chosen to discuss Genora’s private life as well as her public life because I think we tend to create false divides between the two. Genora was a wife, mother, and jobholder who essentially melded these three
open anti-Negro position.”36 These conditions, he believed, did not bode well for the future. Genora and Ronnie got to California in midsummer 1966 and moved into the house on South Hudson that Sol had acquired. It was of Spanish decor and, at Sol and Genora’s insistence, in a fully integrated African American–Latino community. Not long after they moved in, a fire destroyed much of their house. Their old friend, Larry Jones, wrote to say he wished there was something he could do to lessen Genora