When I went to work for Lockheed-Georgia Company in September of 1952 I had no idea that this would end up being my life s work. With these words, Harry Hudson, the first African American supervisor at Lockheed Aircraft s Georgia facility, begins his account of a thirty-six-year career that spanned the postwar civil rights movement and the Cold War.
Hudson was not a civil rights activist, yet he knew he was helping to break down racial barriers that had long confined African Americans to lower-skilled, nonsupervisory jobs. His previously unpublished memoir is an inside account of both the racial integration of corporate America and the struggles common to anyone climbing the postwar corporate ladder. At Lockheed-Georgia, Hudson went on to become the first black supervisor to manage an integrated crew and then the first black purchasing agent. There were other firsts along the path to these achievements, and "Working for Equality" is rich in details of Hudson s work on the assembly line and in the back office. In both circumstances, he contended with being not only a black man but a light-skinned black man as he dealt with production goals, personnel disputes, and other workday challenges.
Randall Patton s introduction places Hudson s story within the broader struggle of workplace desegregation in America. Although Hudson is frank about his experiences in a predominantly white workforce, Patton notes that he remained an organization man who expressed pride in his contributions to Lockheed and] the nation s defense effort. "