Celebrating 100 years

100 years

Not many things live to be 100 years old. So when they do, we celebrate! Ninety-nine years ago, on May 9, 1916, the American Federation of Teachers was founded in Chicago, when eight local unions formed the AFT and were granted a charter signed by American Federation of Labor President Samuel Gompers. Leading up to the AFT national convention in 2016, we will spend the next year looking back on our rich history—our struggles, our accomplishments, our proudest moments—and celebrating how far we have come and what lies ahead.

Since that day in 1916, our strength has come from the diversity of our members—who now number 1.6 million—in all constituencies and from the proud history of our local and state affiliates. The next year will be about honoring our past and inspiring our future. We will showcase major events in AFT history, and the role that AFT members and affiliates have played in major milestones like the civil rights movement, women’s rights and the evolution of the middle class, to name just a few. We even applied for a commemorative stamp! And we cannot do this without your input.

Make sure your history and the amazing work your AFT affiliate has been doing over the past 100 years is represented in our story.


Click to explore an interactive timeline of AFT's first 100 years