Evelyn “Evy” Dubrow, the iconic trade union lobbyist who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999 for her work on civil and trade union rights, recently was inducted into the Labor’s International Hall of Fame of Detroit along with two other trailblazing female activists—Viola Liuzzo and Annie Clemenc.
Dubrow, a great friend of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO and helped out on securing passage of the historic Merchant Marine Act of 1970, was well known for standing strong for the rights of all workers as well as on behalf of Civil Rights. To those who knew her, whenever there was an injustice, she was there.
Working for what was then the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, she was an early and leading voice for fairness in the international trading system. Though short in physical stature, she cast a long shadow.
Like Dubrow, Viola Liuzzo was active in securing civil rights for African Americans. However, she did not walk the halls of Congress. In March 1965, she traveled to Alabama to join the growing Civil Rights Movement after seeing the events of “Bloody Sunday” unravel. Shortly after arriving to help, she was shot and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan. She was only 39.
“Big Annie” Clemenc was a leader in the 1913 strikes protesting the mistreatment of mine workers on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan. She was arrested and imprisoned twice for her actions. She was known to stand on picket lines draped in the American flag. She also founded the Women’s Auxiliary No. 15 of the Western Federation of Miners.