January 30, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 15 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
THE PASSING OF ONEIL MARION CANNON; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 15
(Extensions of Remarks - January 30, 2017)
Text available as:
Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.
[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E102-E103] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] THE PASSING OF ONEIL MARION CANNON ______ HON. KAREN BASS of california in the house of representatives Monday, January 30, 2017 Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to honor the life and memory of my friend and mentor, Oneil Marion Cannon, who passed away on January 20, days before his 100th birthday. Oneil was born in Louisiana on January 28, 1917. He began early to fight against injustice. As a young insurance agent in New Orleans, he joined an office workers union, and he defied miscegenation laws to associate with white students at Tulane and Dillard Universities. He served honorably in the Pacific Theatre during World War II and settled with his wife and children in Los Angeles after his discharge. There he learned the printing trade on the GI Bill. He believed all his life in collective action, and fought to become the first African American member of the Printer's Union in Los Angeles. Union membership, however, did not guarantee him work in that segregated industry, so he started his own print shop in the basement of the progressive Black newspaper The Eagle. Fidelity Educational Press became known as the ``union printer to the left,'' producing leaflets, journals, and brochures for community groups, activists and churches. Oneil taught the printing trade to generations of printers in South Los Angeles. His passion for education further led him to fight for ``Negro History Week'' in L.A. schools, and to take an active part in the multi-year struggle for a junior college in South L.A. That battle culminated in the opening of L.A. Southwest College in 1967. In 1985 he co-founded the Paul Robeson Center, which quickly became a community hub. For years it pursued its mission of seeking interracial and intercultural understanding. Oneil was instrumental in supporting my own work as a community organizer early in my life, and without his help my life would have taken a very different path. Deeply involved in politics, Oneil belonged to the Independent Progressive Party and campaigned to put Henry Wallace on the ballot in the late 1940s. As part of the IPP, he used economic power to force employers to hire Black and Mexican American workers, using the slogan ``don't bank or buy where you can't work.'' He worked for decades to elect [[Page E103]] representatives of color to office, including Tom Bradley, Ed Roybal, and even campaigning at age 90 for Barack Obama. I would like to salute Oneil Cannon for his longstanding commitment to serving and uplifting others, and for a century of fighting to make the world a better place. ____________________