Passing Through is my father Clive Knowles' memoir about his extraordinary life in tumultuous times. He resigned his Unitarian ministry to become a labor organizer in the heyday of the CIO. Over the decades he was called on to initiate or complete difficult organizing campaigns and strikes: Colonial Sausage in Boston, Standard Oil in Texas, Packinghouse Workers in Iowa and Louisiana, and a farm workers strike in the Imperial Valley in California (while evading a hitman). He served three years in the Merchant Marines on the dangerous Atlantic runs during World War II, worked for firebrand Congressman Vito Marcantonio in New York City, and headed up the Henry Wallace Presidential campaign in West Virginia. He ended his years in the labor movement getting low-cost housing built in his post as Research Director for the California State Council of Carpenters.
Clive had an excellent memory and he skillfully weaves stories about family, friends and comrades into this narrative of an extraordinary person who fought throughout his life to improve wages and working conditions of workers all over the US. His memoir contains many lessons for those who want to see unions strong again. His adventures in a life in labor and during World War II make for fascinating reading.