Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.
As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, let us honor Clara Day.
Clara Day’s contributions to Teamster history and Black History are truly remarkable. She battled both race and gender stereotypes on her way to attaining leadership positions with Local 743 in Chicago and in the community.
Born in Tuscaloosa, Ala. in 1924, she moved to Chicago at a young age. After taking a job as information clerk at Montgomery Wards in 1947, she began noticing a variety of injustices to workers—including the strict segregation of white and black employees
She decided to change the workplace. She became active in an organizing campaign with the Teamsters. She became a force to reckoned with in that campaign.
Clara joined Teamsters Local 743 in 1955. Shortly thereafter, she was brought onto the staff of Local 743 to represent the same workers she had helped bring to the union.
In 1976 she was elected to the Local 743 Executive Board and served as Trustee and Recording Secretary.
Clara was a powerful voice in support of the civil rights movement. She served with distinction on numerous boards, committees and commissions, both public and private, with the mission of making equal rights and justice a reality for women and minorities.
Day’s proudest achievements included serving as a founding member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) in 1974 and leading a delegation of her union members in the historic March on Washington in the company of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963.
Day was a founding member of the Teamsters National Black Caucus in 1976 and was honored for her contributions in August 2000.
In 2008, the Teamsters Union published “Clara Day: A Teamster’s Life” as part of the Teamster History Collection.
Clara Day is a part of Teamsters History and Black History.