October 2, 1924: Labor Leader Miles Stanley Is Born

Labor leader Miles Stanley helped promote Appalachian workers' rights.

Miles Stanley was born in Dunbar on October 2, 1924. Before his untimely death at age 49, he would become one of West Virginia’s most important labor leaders.

Stanley served in the army artillery during World War II. He then went to work in a steel factory and, in 1947, became president of his local union. After rising quickly through the labor ranks, he was elected president of the newly created West Virginia Federation of Labor AFL-CIO in 1957. In this influential position, he urged the Appalachian region to develop a more skilled workforce. And, for his emphasis on human rights in the workplace, he was named as an adviser to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. In the mid-‘60s, he moved to Washington, D. C., for several years to serve as a personal assistant to national AFL-CIO president George Meany. However, in 1967, he returned to West Virginia, where he continued to build the state’s AFL-CIO into a major political force.

Miles Stanley died suddenly of a heart attack on May 3, 1974. The state’s AFL-CIO building in Charleston is named in his honor.