Kemp, Maida Springer. Papers of Maida Springer Kemp, 1942-1981: A Finding AidArthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
© 1988 President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: 80-M22--82-M159
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Maida Springer Kemp
Title: Papers of Maida Springer Kemp, 1942-1981
Quantity: .83 linear feet (2 file boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, speeches, reports, etc., of Maida (Stewart) Springer Kemp, trade
Preliminary inventory: March 1988
By: Nancy Falk
Accession numbers: 80-M22, 80-M52, 80-M202 81-M45, 82-M159
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Maida Springer Kemp in February,
March, and September 1980, February 1981, and August 1982.
Access. Collection is open for research.
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Maida Springer Kemp as well as copyright
in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Maida Springer Kemp Papers, 1942-1981; item description, dates. 80-M22--82-M159,
folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute,
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Maida Springer Kemp was born in Panama, Central America, in 1910, and moved to New
York City with her mother,
Diane Stewart, in 1917.
In 1932 Kemp went to work as a pinker, hand finisher and subsequently a sewing machine
operator in a garment factory in New York. She joined Local 22 of the International
Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) in 1933; this was the beginning of her involvement
American trade union movement, which eventually included participation in the workers'
education movement, African trade union movements, labor education worldwide (particularly
for women), and the women's movement.
From 1933 to 1941 or 1942 Kemp was active in Local 22 of the Dressmakers' Union; she
served on the executive board and the education committee, and as a shop representative
prices. She took union training and education courses through the American Federation
(AFL), the Wellesley College Institute for Social Progress, and the Hudson Shore Labor
For the next nine years Kemp was increasingly active in trade union and other activities,
largely in New York. She was Education Director of Local 132 of the Plastic Button
Novelty Workers' Union, 1942-1945, and ran for State Assembly from the 21st Assembly
District (Harlem) of New York County on the American Labor Party ticket (1942). She
appointed to a War Price and Rationing Board of the Office of Price Administration
in 1945 became the first Black woman to represent the AFL abroad, serving as its delegate
trip sponsored by the Office of War Information to observe wartime conditions for
Great Britain. Also in 1945 the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) chose her as
the twelve outstanding women of the year; in 1946 Kemp received the NCNW's merit award.
was the Executive Secretary of the Fair Employment Practices Commission rally at Madison
Square Garden in 1945, and that year joined the staff of the Dress Joint Board, becoming
business agent for Dressmakers' Union Local 22 of the ILGWU in 1948, a post she held
Beginning in 1951 Kemp became increasingly active, through the AFL, in labor unions
several African countries that were simultaneously working for national independence.
weeks in 1951, Maida Springer Kemp went to observe workers' education associations
in Sweden and Denmark,
her trip sponsored by the American Labor Education Service and the American Scandinavian
Foundation. This was followed by eight months at Ruskin Labor College, Oxford University,
made possible by an Urban League Fellowship and a sabbatical from the ILGWU. Kemp
courses and met many African students who were trade unionists and/or nationalists
In the mid 1950s Kemp became an active observer, and later an organizer, for the AFL
after 1955, the AFL-CIO programs for and in Africa. She first traveled to Africa in
1955 as one
of five non-African observers (and the only woman) at the first International Confederation
Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) conference, held in Accra, Gold Coast (later Ghana). In
attended the First African Regional Trade Union Conference (Ghana) and organized a
American labor leaders to discuss Kenya's labor needs; out of this meeting came the
build Solidarity House in Nairobi. In 1958 Kemp attended the All-African People's
Accra. In 1959 the State of Israel invited her to study African and Israeli-African
and the next year she joined the AFL-CIO Department of International Affairs as representative
In the late 1950s and early 1960s Kemp lived on and off in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania),
(Kenya), and Brooklyn, New York, and traveled extensively in Africa for the AFL-CIO;
responsible for the selection of students for the American Trade Union Scholarship
Africa. She was an invited guest at the national independence ceremonies in Ghana
Nigeria (1960), Tanzania (1961), and Kenya (1963).
In 1964 Kemp was advisor to and member of the workers' delegation from the United
to the 48th Session of the International Labor Organization conference in Geneva.
In 1966 she
returned to the ILGWU as a general organizer, and later worked with the A. Philip
Kemp attended the International Women's Year conferences in Mexico (1975) and Nairobi
(1985), and the 1977 Pan African Conference on the Role of Trade Union Women. She
member of the National Council of Negro Women, the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People, the African-American Free Labor Institute, the
Asian-American Free Labor Institute, the National Organization for Women, and the
Labor Union Women. In the late 1920s Kemp married Owen Springer; they had one son,
1965 she married James Kemp. She has two grandchildren.
This collection consists of
correspondence, speeches, reports, clippings, printed material, and photographs documenting
some of Maida Springer Kemp's trade union activity in the United States and her extensive
work on behalf of the
emerging trade union movement in Africa. The emphasis is on Kemp's work in Africa--in
particular the Trade Union Scholarship Program for Africa, an AFL-CIO effort, and
her efforts to
provide assistance to union leaders--from the mid 1950s through 1980, especially in
Kenya, Nigeria, Tanganyika, Uganda, and the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
Because Kemp traveled widely as International Representative of the AFL-CIO and later
African-American Free Labor Institute and Asian-American Free Labor Institute, and
she was also an active ILGWU member, papers from various aspects of her career are
interrelated. As Kemp became a prominent trade unionist, and increasingly prominent
as a black
woman, she was asked to speak and write on a wide range of national and international
The complexity and overlapping of her activities are reflected in the arrangement
of the papers.
The papers arrived with a partial list of contents (#1), which was helpful in arrangement.
They needed some reorganizing, however, to make them conform to Kemp's apparent
Speeches, reports, etc. (#2-4) were kept together and arranged in chronological order.
items from Kemp's "miscellaneous letters" list were added but most are in the correspondence
folders (#5-7), which contain correspondence with people of note from the U.S. and
covering the years 1944-1979; items other than correspondence were placed in appropriate
folders and correspondence with Tom Mboya in #26. Clippings concern events in which
participated and are in #8. Where possible, distinct activities or organizations have
their own folders (#9-16), and each country has one or more folders (#17-42). Within
chronological order has been imposed. Photographs are filed in separate folders following
containing papers on the same topics; most photos are of trade unionists and most
Items on the "List of Articles Sent" have been placed in the appropriate clipping,
speech, or country folders.
The collection has been arranged in two series. The division is somewhat artificial,
both series cover similar periods; they differ in provenance, however. Kemp's work
countries (Series II) stands somewhat apart from her activities in the United States,
but speeches and
correspondence often cover a multiplicity of topics.
Series I, Activities primarily in the United States, 1942-1981 (#1-16), consists of
correspondence, clippings, etc., from Kemp's labor union and related activities.
Series II, Activities abroad, mainly in Africa, 1950-1980 (#17-44), documents Kemp's
activities as an international representative of the AFL-CIO. This series is organized
beginning with three regions of Africa: West, East and South, followed by countries
The following catalog entries represent persons, organizations, and topics documented
in this collection.
An entry for each appears in the Harvard On Line Library Information System (HOLLIS)
and other automated bibliographic
databases. THIS IS NOT AN INDEX.
African American women
All-African People's Conference
American Federation of Labor
American Society of African Culture
Asian-American Free Labor Institute
Baldwin, Roger N. (Roger Nash), 1884-1981
Bethune, Mary McLeod, 1875-1955
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Train, Chair Car, Coach Porters and Attendants
Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982
Ferebee, Dorothy Boulding, -1980
Ghana--Politics and government
Ghana Trades Union Congress
Harvard University. Trade Union Program
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
International labor activities
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22
International Women's Year, 1975
Jacobs, Sophia Yarnall
Kaunda, Kenneth D. (Kenneth David), 1924-
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
Kenya--Politics and government
Labor unions--Political activity
Labor unions and communism--Africa
Malawi--Politics and government
Mboya, Tom, 1930-1969
Meany, George, 1894-1980
Murray, Pauli, 1910-1985
National Council of Negro Women
National Negro Labor Council (U.S.)
Nigeria--Politics and government
Nkrumah, Kwame, 1909-1972
Nyerere, Julius K. (Julius Kambarage), 1922-1999
Ochwada, Arthur A.
Pan African Conference on the Role of Trade Union Women (1977 : Nairobi)
Randolph, A. Philip (Asa Philip), 1889-1979
Ruskin College (University of Oxford)
Sears, Mason, 1899-1973
Starr, Mark, 1894-1985
Tanzania--Politics and government
Tettegah, John K., 1930-2009
Tubman, William V. S., 1895-1971
Uganda--Politics and government
United Nations. Trusteeship Council
United States Labor Party
United States. Office of War Information
Ware, Caroline F. (Caroline Farrar), 1899-1990
Women labor union members
Working class--Education--Developing countries
Working class--Scholarships, fellowships, etc.
Working class women
Young, Whitney M.
Zambia--Politics and government
- Box 1: Folders 1-23
- Box 2: Folders 24-44
- Series I. ACTIVITIES PRIMARILY IN
THE UNITED STATES, 1942-1981
- 1. Partial lists of contents, provided by Maida Springer Kemp
- 2. Speeches, reports, articles, memos, most by Maida Springer Kemp,
- Civil Rights and Liberties. Freedom House, March 4, 1949. 10 pages.
- Report to the
Urban League on 1951-1952 study abroad. 20 pages.
- Urban League Fellowship--Oxford, England
1952-1953. 7 pages.
- Memorandum, March 15, 1959, re: trade union work in Africa and Maida Springer Kemp's
ILGWU roots. 3 pages.
- Remarks, April 18, 1959, at African Historical Society dinner. 3 pages.
- 3. Speeches, reports, articles, memos, most by Maida Springer Kemp,
- IUEW Convention of District 4, June 1,
1960, re: political, economic and emotional change in the United States and abroad.
- Message to
the British Guiana Trade Union Congress, June 1960. 7 pages.
- (Speech given in British Guiana.)
Draft, AFL-CIO African program. , by Maida Springer Kemp (?). 9 pages.
- Memorandum to Michael Ross,
July 12, 1960, re: 3rd annual conference of the American Society of African Culture.
- Central African Federation, August 11, 1960, re: history of Nyasaland, Northern and
Rhodesia. Draft and final copy. 6 pages.
- 4. Speeches, reports, articles, memos, most by Maida Springer Kemp,
- Symposium on national training needs in
critical areas: Africa, April 7-8, 1962. Conference on new directions and needs in
labor training. 9 pages.
- Vocational training in Kenya, June 10, 1963. Maida Springer Kemp represented the
International Affairs Department of the AFL-CIO. 13 pages.
- African program and activities of the
Department of International Affairs of the AFL-CIO, 1961-1963. 13 pages.
- African unions and the
international labor movement, . 21 pages.
- Second copy, single spaced, 14 pages.
Fellowship Annual Luncheon, October 10, 1970, Congregational Church of the Good Shepherd.
4 pages (incomplete).
- "When the Sahara moved South." The American Federationist, March
1975. 3 pages.
- National Consumers' League annual dinner, [April 1976]. Maida Springer Kemp was award
recipient. 2 pages.
- Maida Springer Kemp on Dr. Caroline F. Ware. A supplement to the Black Women Oral
History Project. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College. 1981. 11 pages.
- 5. Correspondence, membership cards, invitations,
printed reports, etc., from national and international organizations and labor union
- 6. Correspondence, membership cards, invitations,
printed reports, etc., from national and international organizations and labor union
- 7. Correspondence, membership cards, invitations,
printed reports, etc., from national and international organizations and labor union
- 8. Clippings by or about Maida Springer Kemp, 1942-1976
- 9. Maida Springer Kemp candidacy, American Labor Party: leaflet,
invitation, 1942. See digital image.
- 10. Office of War Information trip to Great Britain. Correspondence, poem, letter
of introduction from David Dubinsky,
- 11. Office of War Information trip to Great Britain. Photographs,
- 12. Ruskin College, Oxford: identity card, tickets,
- 13. American Society for African Culture, 2nd annual
conference, New York City, June 26-29, 1959: agenda, speeches on African economic
development, including Maida Springer Kemp's speech: "International Trade Unions and
the African Labor
- 14. National Council of Negro Women (NCNW),
1974-1975. Correspondence, NCNW
program and papers given at International Women's Year in Mexico, 1975, and post IWY
- 15. National Council of Negro Women (NCNW),
- 16. Photographs of Maida Springer Kemp et al., 1952?-1978.
- Series II. ACTIVITIES ABROAD, MAINLY IN AFRICA, 1950-1979
- 17. West Africa. Ghana, 1950-1958, n.d. Correspondence, invitations, comment on the
Industrial Relations bill [by Maida Springer Kemp?], draft by Ghana Trade Union Congress
of constitution, etc.,
- 18. West Africa. Ghana, 1950-1958, n.d. Printed material
- 19v. West Africa. Ghana, 1950-1958, n.d. Accra, January 1957
- 20. West Africa. Ghana, 1950-1958, n.d. All-African Peoples' Conference, Accra, December
1958: invitation and program; "Africa Freedom Day" (speech re: conference), by Tom
April 1959. 11 pages.
- 21. West Africa. Ghana, 1950-1958, n.d. Photographs.
- 22. West Africa. Liberia: First National Industrial Relations
Conference, Monrovia, 1965. Correspondence, agenda, list of delegates, working paper,
speech by William V.S. Tubman Jr.,
post-conference memos, citation
- 23. West Africa. Liberia: First National Industrial Relations
Conference, Monrovia, 1965. Photographs.
- 24. West Africa. Nigeria, 1957-1965. Correspondence, invitations, printed union material,
- 25. West Africa. Nigeria, 1957-1965. Photographs.
- 26. East Africa. Kenya: correspondence, invitations, printed
material; includes papers from, to, re: Tom Mboya, 1957, mostly
- 27. East Africa. Kenya: correspondence, invitations, printed
material; includes papers from, to, re: Tom Mboya, 1958-1960
- 28. East Africa. Kenya: correspondence, invitations, printed
material; includes papers from, to, re: Tom Mboya, 1963-1972?, mostly 1963
- 29. East Africa. Kenya: correspondence, invitations, printed
material; includes papers from, to, re: Tom Mboya. Pan-African Conference on the Role
of Trade Union
Women, Nairobi, 1977: agendas, clippings
- 30. East Africa. Kenya: correspondence, invitations, printed
material; includes papers from, to, re: Tom Mboya. Photographs.
- 31. East Africa. Tanganyika (now Tanzania) 1951-1963, n.d. Printed reports; speech by
Nyerere: "Barriers to Democracy"; Maida Springer Kemp memo re: Nyerere and Tanganyika;
Federation of Labour: Research into Labour Conditions; comments by Government of
Tanganyika on Nyerere's speech to the United Nations (1957).
- 32. East Africa. Tanganyika (now Tanzania) 1951-1963, n.d. Correspondence, invitations,
clipping re: Julius K.
memoranda, printed material, map
- 33v. East Africa. Tanganyika (now Tanzania) 1951-1963, n.d. U.N. Trustee Council, Report on the Trust
Territory of Tanganyika..., 1957
- 34. East Africa. Tanganyika (now Tanzania) 1951-1963, n.d. Photographs.
- 35. Uganda, 1951-1963. Correspondence; Maida Springer Kemp memo re: Uganda; report by
AFL-CIO African trade union program; union rules, etc. (printed).
- 36. Uganda, 1951-1963. Photograph.
- 37. Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now
Zambia and Malawi). Nyasaland: correspondence, article, 1957-1961
- 38. Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now
Zambia and Malawi). Northern Rhodesia: correspondence with Kenneth
Kaunda and Arthur Wina, etc. 1960-1969
- 39. South Africa: "Memorandum on Women in
Employment," by the Study Group on Women in Employment, 1978
- 40. Indonesia. Agenda, report, etc. re: women's seminar, 1979
- 41. Indonesia. Photographs, 1979.
- 42. Turkey: Clothing Workers' Union of Turkey (Teksif)
conference agendas, etc., 1978; re: establishing women's bureau, report, memo remarks
Maida Springer Kemp, 1980.
- 43. Photographs: Israel (1959), Ethiopia (1963, 1965),
- 44. Printed material re: Africa