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date: 13 August 2020

Williams, Austin “Heavy” locked

  • Charles Rosenberg


anti–labor union activist in the Chicago meatpacking industry during the time of the Stockyards Labor Council (SLC), particularly 1916–1919, was one of the few men known by name for his leading role in anti-union agitation among African American employees, and those seeking work from the large and smaller packing companies.

Williams's birth, previous experience, and later life are unknown, although there are faint clues for speculation. Even his motives and loyalties are unclear, and probably more complex than any partisan for or against organized labor may have credited. He may have been born around 1874 in Texas, the son of Lizar Williams, who had been born, like Williams's father, in Georgia. If so, he was living in 1910 in a rooming house in Fort Worth, working at odd jobs.

According to two African American SLC floor committeemen Williams was the leader of a group of men who came ...

A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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