Education

Milestones

September 30, 1992 1 min read

Carl J. Megel, the first full-time president of the American Federation of Teachers, died Sept. 18 of congestive heart failure at his home in Rockville, Md. He was 92.

Mr. Megel, who began his union career with the Chicago Teachers Union in the 1930’s, was the A.F.T.'s president from 1952 to 1964 and oversaw huge growth in the union’s membership. The A.F.T., which today has some 796,000 members, grew from about 39,000 to more than 100,000 members during Mr. Megel’s term of office.

During his presidency, the union also became the only education organization to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the Brown v. Board of Education school-desegregation case in 1954. In 1957, the union also expelled all its racially segregated locals.

After leaving office, Mr. Megel worked on the national staff for 18 years, helping direct the union’s lobbying activities.

“Carl was a consummate organizer and believed in the principles of the trade-union movement, especially as they applied to teachers,’' Albert Shanker, the A.F.T.'s president, said in a statement last week.

A version of this article appeared in the September 30, 1992 edition of Education Week as Milestones