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1976 Norman Thomas - Eugene V. Debs Dinner

The 1976 Norman Thomaas - Eugene V., Debs Dinner was held on Sunday, May 16, at the Midland Hotel. The featured speaker was Michael Harrington. The honoree was Dolores Huerta. We do not have a program from this event, but apparently the Master of Ceremonies was Leon Despres. Some music was included in the program, but we have no information about the musicians. According to the receipt from the hotel, 342 meals were served. The seating chart lists 41 tables. The photos are by Syd Harris, all but one from contact sheets.


1976 Dinner Flyer


Leon Despres

Leon Despres, for many years the Alderman of Chicago's 5th Ward, was a favorite master of ceremonies for the Thomas - Debs Dinner.


Dolores Huerta


Huerta and Speakers Table

The above two photos are of UFWA 1st Vice-President Dolores Huerta accepting the Thomas - Debs Award. It is not clear who presented the award, possibly Ralph Helstein.


Huerta and award

Dolores Huerta and her award after the event was over. From left to right, Leon Despres, Michael Harrington, Ralph Helstein?, and Dolores Huerta.


To Dolores Huerta

For your boundless energy which has attracted thousands to the struggle for workers justice;

For your single-minded determination which has sustained your movement against the mightiest of foes;

For your willingness to live a life of poverty so that others may share in America's riches;

For the inspiration you have given to us all in the eternal quest for social equality the Norman Thomas ­ Eugene V. Debs Dinner Committee is proud to present to you its annual award on this 16th Day of May, 1976.


Carl Shier & Dolores Huerta

Carl Shier was also on the program. Here he is next to Dolores Huerta at the speakers table.


Despres and Harrington

Leon Despres introduces Michael Harrington, the Dinner's featured speaker.


Michael Harrington
Michael Harrington

The above two photos are of Michael Harrington speaking at the 1976 Thomas - Debs Dinner.


A shot of the audience during the program. The sharp-eyed will notice a "Zeidler for President" poster on the back wall, toward the center. Frank Zeidler had been the Socialist Party Mayor of Milwaukee until 1960. In 1976, he was the Socialist Party USA candidate for President.


Musicians Solidarity Forever
Speakers Solidarity Forever

It is traditional to end the Dinner with "Solidarity Forever".


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