In the summer of 1963, the summer between the 7th and 8th grade for me, my main concern was playing first base for Tapp’s Pony League baseball team. (It was Tapp’s the furniture store, not the funeral home, although I doubt that many in the small town new, or for that matter cared.) In other parts of the country, there were much more significant matters as the civil rights movement which had been building since the mid-1950’s was beginning yet another significant and violent summer.
What I would do for a living was probably the furthest thing from my mind, but if I had been asked, one thing that I could not have answered is that I would be a lawyer specializing in employment law. That job didn’t yet exist.
I am certainly not the first person who has ended up spending a lifetime doing something that did not even exist when they were born. But I don’t think when I exaggerate the role employment law has had not only on me, but on our whole society.
For the last 10, now almost 11 years I have been making these notes, I have focused on current developments in the world of work. But it seems like a good time to look backwards and reflect on just how far we have come in the last 50 years.
Although the civil rights movement is focused on the struggle and treatment of black Americans, the first tentative step toward this new discipline was focused on a different group and one particular problem. More about that tomorrow.