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Paul Booth ’64

Paul Booth ’64, an iconic union organizer and progressive activist who spearheaded the 1965 student march on the White House to protest the Vietnam War, died Jan. 17, 2018.

A Swarthmore student who founded a chapter of the antiwar group Students for a Democratic Society, Paul earned a place in the national consciousness as he rose to the top levels of SDS, but his “Build, Not Burn” ethos distanced more militant colleagues, so he left to become a community organizer in Chicago.

Paul spent the majority of his career working for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the nation’s largest public employee union, as the chief assistant to President Gerard W. McEntee and then executive assistant to successor Lee Saunders.

In an email, Saunders wrote, “Paul was an organizer’s organizer, a man of great generosity and integrity, a friend and mentor to so many people in AFSCME, the labor movement and the progressive community.”

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