Marc Stepp Oral History
Scope and Content
Collection consists of video and audio recordings. Stepp talks about his family background, education, military service, jobs held, labor union activities, career with Chrysler and the UAW, life in Detroit, and his civil rights and community activism and leadership.
The audio version of the interview can be divided approximately as follows: Family background, including step-family; childhood in Versailles, Kentucky; family’s move to Evansville, Indiana; high school education; beginnings of interest in the labor movement and social justice; move on his own to Detroit following his graduation in 1941; impressions of Detroit, including Black Bottom and Paradise Valley; various jobs worked before World War II; hiring at the Chrysler Highland Park plant; discrimination faced by African American workers; and entry into the labor movement; influence of national civil rights actions in 1941 on equal hiring and promotion; plant integration and union organizing; drafting into the Army Air Corps in 1943 and military service; return to Detroit following World War II; continued education in trade school, Highland Park adult education classes, and night school at University of Detroit, earning his accounting degree; nineteen-year-long career at Chrysler Highland Park plant; union positions held at the local, including shop committeeman, chief steward, and vice president Local 490 to the Chrysler-UAW National Negotiating Committee (tape 1, June 11). Work at Chrysler; regional and international union leadership, including appointment in 1967 as international representative with Region 1B; work with and admiration for Leonard Woodcock; community and civil rights activity; Democratic Party politics, including an unsuccessful run for a seat on the all-white Detroit Common Council (city council) in 1965; appreciation of and support for Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the Revolutionary Black Workers; reflection on his position of power as a labor leader (tape 2, June 12). The “Chrysler crisis” of 1979-1980; promotion to assistant regional director in 1973, and election as International Vice President in 1974, UAW career to 1985; perspective on differing experiences for African American and white workers, greater struggles of the former; Chrysler crisis and plant closings; economic downturn of the 1980s; rest of UAW career, 1985 through retirement in 1988, including international trips; CBTU: involvement with CBTU from its beginnings in 1972, influence of the Trade Union Leadership Council (TULC) and the Negro American Labor Council (NALC) on CBTU and differences of the organizations, labor union resistance to CBTU; involvement in Democratic Party politics, especially in the 1960s (tape 3, June 13; last 10 minutes blank).
- 2003-06-11 - 2003-06-13
- Smith, Mike (Michael O.) (Interviewer, Person)
Language of Materials
Material entirely in English.
Collection is open for research.
Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library
Rules for Use of Archival Materials.RESTRICTIONS: Due to the personal nature of oral history, the Library prohibits use of the material in any way that infringes on individual right to privacy, or results in libelous statements or slander, in accordance with U.S. law. Permission to publish or quote must be obtained from the interviewee or interviewee heirs or assigns.
In 2003, labor historian Mike Smith conducted an oral history interview with labor, civil rights, and community leader Marc Stepp. Stepp worked at the Chrysler Highland Park plant and advanced through positions of leadership in the UAW local. He then rose to regional and international levels, culminating in his election in 1974 as UAW International Vice President, a position he filled until his retirement in 1988.
8 items : (5 Hi8 videotapes and 3 audiocassettes)
In 2003, labor historian Mike Smith conducted an oral history interview with labor, civil rights, and community leader Marc Stepp. Stepp worked at the Chrysler Highland Park plant and advanced through positions of leadership in the UAW local. He then rose to regional and international levels, culminating in his election in 1974 as UAW International Vice President, a position he filled until his retirement in 1988. Collection consists of video and audio recordings. Stepp talks about his family background, education, military service, jobs held, labor union activities, career with Chrysler and the UAW, life in Detroit, and his civil rights and community activism and leadership.
Donated by Mike Smith, Walter P. Reuther Library, on or after 2003.
An audio copy of the original videotaped interview is available on audiocassette.
Processed and finding aid written by Rebecca Bizonet on September 29, 2016.
- Affirmative action
- African American labor leaders
- African American labor union members
- Civil rights movement
- Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (U.S.)
- Democratic Party (Mich.)
- International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
- International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America. Chrysler Department
- Labor unions
- Oral histories
- Sound recordings
- Video recordings
- Guide to the Marc Stepp Oral History
- Processed by Rebecca Bizonet.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description made possible by funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.