Norma Rae Has Left the Building  

Crossposted on dailykos

When Michael Jackson died, I didn't really notice. He didn't move me; didn't change my life; he didn't make me get to my feet and find reason in it.

Michael Jackson was a great entertainer. But he was no Crystal Lee Sutton. He never took on management to bring a better life to her, her family and her co-workers. Crystal Lee Sutton, took a stand and paid a heavy price for it:

“Management and others treated me as if I had leprosy,” said Crystal. She received threats and was finally fired from her job. But before she left, she took one final stand, filmed verbatim in the 1979 film Norma Rae. “I took a piece of cardboard and wrote the word UNION on it in big letters, got up on my work table, and slowly turned it around. The workers started cutting their machines off and giving me the victory sign. All of a sudden the plant was very quiet…”

Over the past few months, Crystal (aka Norma Rae) has battled brain cancer and her health insurer for life saving care, care she was denied.

Last week, Crystal Lee Sutton entered hospice care. Today, I received word that Crystal has lost her battle.

Thank you so much for getting the word out about Crystal. I was able to share the messages with her, and it meant a lot to her and to her family. She even managed a smile at the H.L. Mencken quote! She died yesterday about 3:30, peacefully, with her family there. The local paper had a front page article this morning, The funeral is tomorrow, the last I heard, at Maclure funeral home in Graham, N.C., at 2:00, with visitation prior to the service. I miss her already.

For those of you too young to remember Norma Rae, Brave New Films has a great review of the film.

From it, you can get a good idea of who Crystal Lee Sutton was and has been to an entire movement.

As a single mom, I especially found inspiration in her story. I am a liberal, a union activist because of Crystal Lee Sutton. She is today and will always remain, my personal hero.

Please, take a minute and remember an amazing woman.

Join me in song. Solidarity forever, For the Union Makes Us Strong!

Thank you Crystal. Thank you.

You are missed.

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  • Steven  
    9:20 AM

    Was a sad day. After reading the news, I started looking for a copy of Norma Rae, but have not found one yet. There is one place in Austin, that might have it, otherwise, the internet, I suppose.

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