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Lane Kirkland

Lane Kirkland
Born Joseph Lane Kirkland
(1922-03-12)March 12, 1922
Camden, South Carolina
Died August 14, 1999(1999-08-14) (aged 77)
Washington, D.C.
Occupation Labor leader
Political party Democratic

Joseph Lane Kirkland (March 12, 1922 – August 14, 1999) was a US labor union leader who served as President of the AFL-CIO for over sixteen years.


  • Biography 1
  • Notes 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4
  • External links 5


Kirkland was born in Camden, South Carolina and rose over his career to head the 16-million-member American labor movement.[1]

In 1941, Kirkland entered the Georgetown University.

Kirkland married Edith Draper Hollyday in June 1944, with whom he had five daughters. A year after their divorce in 1972, he married the Czech-born Irena Neumann (1925–2007).[2]

From 1979 to 1995 Kirkland was president of the Lech Walesa as well as Marian Krzaklewski who replaced Lech Walesa at the helm of Solidarity. Kirkland was awarded posthumously with the highest Polish award, the Order of the White Eagle.[7]The Polish American Freedom Foundation has established a grant in Lane Kirkland's honor.

His best remembered quotation is:

If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.

On November 13, 1989, Kirkland was presented with the Bush

In 1994, Kirkland was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton.

In 1999, Lane Kirkland was awarded the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.[8] Lane Kirkland died in Washington, D.C., aged 77, from complications of cancer.


  1. ^ Buhle, Paul. Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland, and the Tragedy of American Labor. New York City: Monthly Review Press, 1999. ISBN 1-58367-003-3
  2. ^ Puddington, Arch (2005). Lane Kirkland: Champion of American labor. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley and Sons.  
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Szporer, Michael (2012). Solidarity: The Great Workers Strike of 1980. Lexington Books.  
  7. ^
  8. ^ Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom


  • Puddington, Arch (2005). Lane Kirkland: Champion of American labor. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley and Sons.  

External links

  • The American Presidency Project
  • Lane Kirkland (1922 - 1999) AFL-CIO history page.

External links

  • American Center for International Labor Solidarity, formerly the International Affairs Department of the AFL-CIO.
  • Lane Kirkland: The AFL-CIO's last cold warrior by Jim Smith
  • Freedom's Labors: Lane Kirkland worked for more than his union by Fred Siegel. Wall Street Journal. Tuesday, March 8, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST. Accessed April 3, 2005.
Business positions
Preceded by
George Meany
AFL-CIO President
Succeeded by
Thomas R. Donahue
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