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The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Local 241 was chartered on 1 April 1902 in Chicago, Illinois under the name Amalgamated Association of Street and Electrical Railway Employees of America (AASEREA). The AASEREA, itself, had been founded ten years before in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1964, the AASEREA changed its name to the ATU.
The 1960s was the decade of the Civil Rights movement and a period of racial integration in American cities. Chicago was no different. While equal rights debates and skirmishes made headlines in the newspapers and top stories on the evening news, Division 241 leaders did not see it as something to debate. Racial debates were not a topic allowed at meetings. Its official stance was that all people had an equal right to a job and membership. In 1968, African-American members of the 241 also thought that leadership positions should be equally distributed, too. It took over one year to convince the union of equal leadership opportunity, but by 1971, it was the ATU's position internationally.
(Sources: About Local 241. (n.d.). Local 241 Amalgamated Transit Union AFL-CIO/CLC. Retrieved October 3, 2014, from http://transitweb.atu.org/sites/midwest/local241/index.cfm?action=article&articleID=f5a1e1d2-80dd-442c-9b5c-9fd2d5700374; Amalgamated Transit Union Staff. (1992). A history of the Amalgamated Transit Union. Retrieved October 3, 2014, from http://www.atu.org/atu-pdfs/conventiondocs/convention-docs/History-of-the-ATU.pdf.)