Abstract: Managing Desegregation: The First African-American Supervisor at Lockheed-Georgia, 1952-1961

Randall L. Patton


Harry L. Hudson's story adds depth and complexity to the just emerging story of workplace desegregation in the civil rights era. Hudson was hired specifically as one of ten African-Americans selected to enter a management training program in 1952. A year later, in September 1953, Hudson became the first of these trainees to become a line supervisor at Lockheed. Hudson passed away in 2001, but left behind a memoir that details his own experience crossing the color line in American/southern industry. Hudson's experience was complex. He clearly took pride in his accomplishments, but suffered numerous slights and insults along the way. In the end, he was convinced that he had not risen as high as he should have, and that this was probably due to his race and his unwillingness to suffer in silence. Hudson's detailed account offers a very rare perspective from the first generation to cross the color line in what were referred to as "non-traditional jobs" for African Americans in the South.