Acipco Negro Employees Chest Fund

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The Acipco Negro Employees Chest Fund was a collective trust established by the American Cast Iron Pipe Company (ACIPCO) for the benefit of the communities in which its Black workers resided.

The fund was initiated as, "a means of teaching the Negro the necessity of his participation in Negro Welfare Work." The company steered 5 cents from each employee for each day of work into the fund, amounting to about $10 per year. The Birmingham Community Chest took 30% of that, leaving $7 for the fund itself, which was matched by ACIPCO to net approximately $14 per worker per year in investments.

Implementation of the program was dependent on a legal opinion sought by W. D. Moore from the firm of Benners, Burr, McKamy & Forman that the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act of 1936 allowed such deductions to be taken, even if they resulted in take-home pay which was below minimum wage.

The use of the fund was restricted to donations to health, education and character-building agencies, excluding churches, lodges and individuals. Disbursements were governed by a board made up of Black employees elected by their colleagues, subject to approval by the Eagan Trust.

By 1939 the fund had primarily been used to establish the Slossfield Community Center, with $2,100 going to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) for construction of the complex; $5,000 going to the National Youth Administration (NYA) for educational programs at the center, $700 for a training project associated with the construction work, and another $618.75 going toward healthcare services provided there.

The Acipco Negro Employees Chest Fund also made donations to Birmingham Community Chest ($1,500), to the American Red Cross' Anti-Tuberculosis Christmas Seals program ($545), and to the Martha Washington Fresh Air Camp ($400). In the latter case, the money was used to obtain materials for a toilet facility and hut built by ACIPCO employees and donated to the camp. Donations of $100 each were sent to the Crippled Children's Clinic and Birmingham Boy's Club. Smaller amounts were approved to purchase furniture for the Titusville YMCA ($89.50) and heating coal for the Mattie Sims Nursery ($15).