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Name: Isaac Myers
Isaac Myers was born in Baltimore in 1835. He was a child of free parents, but lived in a city where no schools were offered for free black children. As a result, his training occurred under the tutelage of Reb. John Fortie. As a teenager, with some basic schooling behind him, he became an apprentice caulker for the clipper ships coming into Baltimore harbor.
Myers was to become victim however to the resentment of white skilled labors, who sought to remove all black skilled laborers from having jobs. An organized effort was made to have all black caulkers and longshoremen dismissed. Under direction of Myers, a group of black workers was called together to form a cooperative company that would purchase a shipyard, and continue to do business. The caulkers raised money issuing stock certificates and purchased a shipyard in 1866. Within 6 months the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company employed 300 black workers at $3 a day wages. They were able to obtain a number of government contracts and paid off their debts in 5 years. The cooperative union prevented the efforts of whites to drive blacks out of other
professions. Their union was the first of many and in 1868 Myers became president of the Colored Caulker's Trades Union Society of Baltimore.
Under the leadership shown by Myers the white union, the National Labor Union, opened its conference to persons of all color in 1869. Myers was invited to speak at that convention, and was one of 9 blacks who attended the convention. Afterwards, he was elected president of the Colored National Labor Union the first such national organization in American history. In 1870, he took upon the task of organizing a tour for the new organization. He worked for the Colored NLU, till 1872, when he worked for the Postal office. He continued his association with organizations, unions, and institutions throughout Baltimore's black community.
He died in Baltimore in 1891.
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