The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 324
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
opportunities. Unionized and nonunionized Anglo workers played an
important role in sustaining the resultant inequality primarily by op-
posing the adoption of a nondiscrimination policy in the oil industry.
This opposition was cast in racial terms, though it was fundamentally
motivated by economic and political concerns over the issue of job con-
trol. Although more work is required before we can properly gauge the
effects of persistent discrimination, this study supports the conven-
tional yet rarely substantiated view that Mexican workers continued
facing formidable barriers when they entered high-wage firms during
The primary focus here is the role played by the Fair Employment
Practice Committee (FEPC), the agency responsible for implementing
President Roosevelt's Executive Orders 880o2 and 9346 prohibiting
various forms of discrimination by defense industries, government
employers, and labor unions." The FEPC waged a 2 '/2-year challenge
against discrimination in twelve oil refineries.4 FEPC examiners fo-
cused on group complaints submitted by Mexican workers against
three of the twelve refineries (Humble, Sinclair, and Shell), a company
union at Humble named the Baytown Employees' Federation and two
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) unions, Locals 227 and
367. FEPC officials sought favorable settlements in the three refineries
as a first step in pushing for a policy of nondiscrimination in the entire
2Publications that treat the subject of the Mexican worker and the FEPC are rare These
include the previously cited works by Garcia and Nash as well as two studies, one by a CIO
organizer Involved In the Oil Workers' Organizing Campaign of 1942-1943 and the other by a
former head of the FEPC: Clyde Johnson, "'The Battle for Baytown," June, 1984 (copy of un-
published book-length manuscript in author's possession), and Malcolm Ross, "Those Grin-
gos," In Malcolm H Ross, All Manner of Men (New York: Greenwood Press, 1948), 265-278. A
study by Ray Marshall examines racial discrimination against black workers in the Texas Gulf
Coast oil industry and the successful 1955 challenge against it by the government and the
NAACP: "Some Factors Influencing the Upgrading of Negroes in the Southern Petroleum Re-
fining Industry," Social Forces, XLII (Dec., 1963), 186-195
'President Roosevelt established the FEPC on June 25, 1941, with Executive Order 8802, a
measure Intended to end discrimination by unions, defense industries, and government em-
ployers. On May 26, 1943, the president issued Executive Order 9346 that reorganized the
agency and strengthened its effectiveness with an improved budget and regional offices in such
places as Dallas and San Antonio. Book-length studies of the FEPC include- Herbert Garfinkel,
When Negroes March. The March on Washington Movement in the Organizational Policzes for FEPC
(Glencoe, Ill : The Free Press, 1959), Louis C Kesselman, The Social Politzcs of FEPC; A Study mi
Reform Pressure Movements (Chapel Hill- University of North Carolina Press, 1948); and Louis
Ruchames, Race, Jobs, and Politzcs; The Story of FEPC (Westport: Negro Universities Press, 1953).
4The twelve refineries were Sinclair (Houston), Shell (Houston), Texas Company (Houston),
Texas Company (Port Neches), Pure Oil (Port Neches), Republic (Texas City) Southport (Texas
City), Pan American (Texas City), Texas Company (Port Arthur), Gulf (Port Arthur), Humble
(Baytown), and Magnolia (Beaumont) Fair Employment Practice Committee, Final Repolt
(Washington, D.C U S Government Printing Ofhce, 1947), 23, W Don Ellinger, "Complete
Report on Shell Situation, May 1, 1945," 1-5, Division of Field Operations, Records of the Fair
Employment Practice Committee (National Archives, cited hereafter as FEPC Records)
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/m1/384/: accessed February 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.