Descriptive inventory for the Frank and Beatrice Lumpkin papers, 1940-2013, bulk 1974-1986

Frank and Beatrice Lumpkin papers

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Descriptive inventory for the Frank and Beatrice Lumpkin papers, 1940-2013, bulk 1974-1986

Prepared by Jane McCarthy, 2006-2007; Benn P. Joseph, 2008; and Katie Obriot and Elise Zerega, 2013.
Partially processed with funding by the Council on Library and Information Resources-funded Black Metropolis Research Consortium "Color Curtain Processing Project."
Please address questions to:
Chicago History Museum, Research Center
1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614-6038
Instructions for accessing this collection

Collection Overview +/-

Title: Frank and Beatrice Lumpkin papers, 1940-2013 (inclusive), 1974-1986 (bulk)
Creators: Frank Lumpkin
Beatrice Lumpkin
Wisconsin Steelworkers Save Our Jobs Committee (Chicago, Ill.)
Wisconsin Steel Co. (Chicago, Ill.)
International Harvester Company
Navistar International Corporation
Progressive Steel Workers Union (Chicago, Ill.)
Dates: 1940-2013 (inclusive), 1974-1986 (bulk)
Accession numbers: 2000.0195
Bib number: 00145616
Call numbers: MSS Lot L
MSS Oversize L
Size:6 linear feet (16 boxes)
1 oversize folder
1 sound disc: CD
Language of material:Collection is written in English, and Spanish.

Provenance statement:

Gift of Frank and Beatrice Lumpkin received in 2000 and later (accession#: 2000.0195, 2003.0254.7, 2009.0074.1, 2013.0011.1).

Terms governing use:

Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.


Box 13 is closed to researchers until 2063. For listening purposes, it is necessary to use a copy, not the original (and to have a listening copy made if one is not available).

Please cite this collection as:

Frank and Beatrice Lumpkin papers (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Collection Summary +/-

Documents created or collected by Frank Lumpkin, leader of the Save Our Jobs Committee (SOJ), and his wife Beatrice Lumpkin while writing on a book about the struggles of union workers of Wisconsin Steel Works in Chicago and its abrupt shutdown in 1980. The book was published as "Always Bring a Crowd!" The Story of Frank Lumpkin, Steel Worker. Topics in the collection include activities of the SOJ Committee, its lawsuits and its assistance with living expenses and morale for workers and their families; union organizing and working conditions in the steel industry in the Chicago area from the 1950s-1970s; steel industry problems of the late 20th century; and local politics in Gary, Ind., in the 1950s and later in Chicago.

Materials in the collection include newspaper clippings, SOJ publicity and press releases, correspondence, Frank Lumpkin speeches, photographs, International Harvester correspondence and publications, Wisconsin Steel correspondence and publications, political campaign brochures and flyers, Progressive Steel Workers Union correspondence and publications, 6 scrapbooks, publications of organizations allied with the SOJ Committee, and items ca. 1957-1960 from the Wooded Highlands Democratic Club of Gary, Indiana. Also present are materials about reunions of SOJ Committee participants, the death of Frank Lumpkin, and Bea Lumpkin's book Joy in the Struggle.

Collection primarily written in English with some materials in Spanish.

Biographical/Historical Note +/-

Frank Lumpkin (1916-2010), a long-time employee of Chicago's Wisconsin Steel Works, co-founded the Wisconsin Steel Save Our Jobs Committee (SOJ) with his wife Beatrice (b.1918), also known as Bea.

Frank Lumpkin had begun working for the Wisconsin Steel Company in the 1950s at 107th Street and Torrence Avenue in the South Deering community area of Chicago. Over the years, he and his wife were active in union organizing and politics. When Wisconsin Steel closed abruptly on March 28, 1980, many employees, including Lumpkin, lost not only their jobs and health benefits but also their back pay and pensions.

The Save Our Jobs Committee became a coalition of African American, Mexican American, and other steelworkers and their families to seek legal redress from Wisconsin Steel's parent companies, International Harvester/Navistar and Envirodyne Industries. The SOJ Committee also ran "programs around food, medical and utility issues" for former Wisconsin Steel-employee families, who suddenly were without an income. During the 1980s and 1990s, Frank as chairperson and Bea as a board member performed much day to day work for the committee.

The committee engaged Chicago lawyer Thomas Geoghegan, who eventually helped win a $14.5 million class-action settlement in 1988 against International Harvester/Navistar. Bea Lumpkin wrote a book about the Lumpkins' experiences that was published in 1999 as: "Always Bring a Crowd!" The Story of Frank Lumpkin, Steel Worker.

In the 1950s and 1960s, while the Lumpkin family resided in Gary, Indiana, they were active in the Wooded Highlands Democratic Club. Later, they moved to Chicago's South Shore community area, and their son Dr. John R. Lumpkin ran for alderman of Chicago's 7th Ward. Frank Lumpkin died in 2010.

Catalog Subject Headings +/-

African Americans--Illinois--Chicago--20th century.
Iron and steel workers--Labor unions--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Labor leaders--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Lumpkin, Beatrice--Archives
Lumpkin, Frank, 1916-2010--Archives
Mexican Americans--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Minority labor union members--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Plant shutdowns--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Political activists--Illinois--Chicago Metropolitan Area--20th century
Steel industry and trade--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Working class--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Geoghegan, Thomas, 1949-
Lumpkin, John R.
Roque, Tony-
Vrdolyak, Ed, 1937-
Envirodyne Industries
International Harvester Company
Navistar International Corporation
Progressive Steel Workers Union (Chicago, Ill.)
Wisconsin Steel Co. (Chicago, Ill.)
Wisconsin Steelworkers Save Our Jobs Committee (Chicago, Ill.)--Archives
Compact discs
Photographic prints
Press releases
Sound discs
Chicago (Ill.)--Economic conditions--20th century
Gary (Ind.)--Economic conditions--20th century
South Deering (Chicago, Ill.)--Economic conditions--20th century.
Southeast Side (Chicago, Ill.)

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged into ten series.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1. Wisconsin Steel Works, 1962-1987 (box 1)
Series 2. Progressive Steel Workers Union, 1962-1988 (box 1-2)
Series 3. Closing of Wisconsin Steel, 1974-2003 (box 2-7)
Series 4. Lawsuits, 1977-1999 (box 7-8)
Series 5. Lumpkin family political activism, 1949-1999 (box 8-9)
Series 6. Studies of the steel industry in southeast Chicago, 1975-1999 (box 9-10)
Series 7. Scrapbooks, 1975-1999 (box 10-12)
Series 8. Pension materials, 1980-1993 (box 13) Restriction: Closed to researchers until 2063.
Series 9. Sound recording, 1996 (box 16)
Series 10. Miscellaneous materials, 1940-2013 (box 14-15, 1 oversize folder)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Jessica Followell using Oxygen XML editor, 2016.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Other Finding Aids: Finding aid also submitted to the Explore Chicago Collections portal.
Processing Note:Accession number 2009.0074.1 was processed as Series 9. Accession number 2013.0011.1 was processed as Series 10. Series 1-8 are a combination of the remaining accession numbers processed together.
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