Abstract: Black Power's Confrontation with Kodak: The New Corporate Responsibility

Laura Warren Hill


In 1966, the FIGHT organization—a newly created Black Power entity—demanded that the Eastman Kodak Company, headquartered in Rochester, NY, hire and then train 600 "hard-core unemployed." Kodak, a Fortune 500 company that had avoided unionization and labor negotiations for more than eighty years, politely declined FIGHT's proposal. The demand and subsequent refusal sparked a year-long struggle, the likes of which the business world had never seen. Enlisting the support of Black Power activists, national church bodies, and the media, FIGHT pioneered and waged a shareholder's proxy strategy that forced Kodak to the bargaining table. In the process, FIGHT rewrote the rules of corporate responsibility.