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[Detail] Louis Armstrong, Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y., ca. Apr. 1947

Historical Research: Researching the Taft-Hartley Bill

Several documents in the William P. Gottlieb: Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz collection mention the role of unions in the music industry in the period covered in the collection (1938-1948). In one of his "Posin'" columns for Down Beat magazine, William Gottlieb asked several musicians and a lawyer: "How will the recent legislative setbacks in Washington (Taft-Hartley bill, Lea act, Form B reversal) affect the working musician in the near future?" The attorney, Chubby Goldfarb, spoke in ominous terms:

Even a cursory study of the Taft-Hartley bill indicates this law may have far reaching and unsuspected complications. The musician, just as any other citizen, must of necessity be directly affected. This legislation coupled with similar legislative trends is the war cry of reactionary anti-labor forces. The musician must band together with his various union brethren for the preservation of his individual rights and for the actual survival of our great democracy.

From "Down Beat magazine (July 30, 1947)"

Research the Taft-Hartley bill. Why did Chubby Goldfarb call it the "war cry of reactionary anti-labor forces"? What does your research show about how the bill affected musicians? Were Goldfarb's words about the survival of our democracy justified? Why or why not?