Meet Isaac Myers. Born free in Baltimore, MD in 1835, Myers has the distinction of being one of the earliest known black union workers in the country.
After working on a shipyard for most of his life, Myers was elected as the president of the Colored Caulker’s Trades Union in 1868. Just a year later he was elected as president of the Colored National Labor Union (CNLU) where he would serve for the next three years. During that three-year time period, Myers pushed congress for land distribution for freed slaves in the south. He also fought for equal opportunities for blacks working in construction and number of other trades. After leaving CNLU, Myers went on to lead the Maryland Colored State Industrial Association, the Colored Business Men’s Association and the Colored Building and Loan Association of Baltimore.
By dedicating his entire life to bettering the lives and working conditions of black workers everywhere, Isaac Myers ultimately became a pioneer and a leading force in the black labor movement.