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O'Connell, Craig, 2003 July 2

 Part of Collection
Call Number: RU 1055, Series Accession 2008-A-001

Scope and Contents

Craig O'Connell was a teacher in several New Haven elementary schools and the founder of Teachers for a Progressive Union. Born in New Haven in 1947, O'Connell grew up in a working-class family in Newhallville. He attended Catholic School, graduated from Fairfield University, and became a fourth grade teacher in Newhallville in 1969. In the 1970s, he worked for the Martin Luther King School, a charter program that tried to foster community involvement in the schools. Most of O'Connell's interview covers his experience in the teacher's union. He first went on strike in 1970 and recalls that few other elementary school teachers joined him on the picket line. After the thirteen-day strike, however, O'Connell began to organize fellow teachers at his school. He also formed the group Teachers for a Progressive Union, a radical organization that addressed issues of racism, civil rights, gender inequities, class size, and working conditions. This group, O'Connell notes, was at odds with other union leaders and the Board of Education, which focused on traditional issues such as salaries and benefits. O'Connell also talks about the teachers strikes in 1973 and 1975, how hard-line stances from the Board of Education helped nurture public support for teachers, and how the culture of teaching has changed since the 1970s.

Interviewer: Strohl, Nicholas

Length (min): 57


  • 2003 July 2

Conditions Governing Access

As a preservation measure, original materials may not be used. Digital access copies must be provided for use. Contact Manuscripts and Archives at to request access


1 Computer Files (.wav)

1:35:45 Duration (HH:MM:SS.mmm)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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