Black Workers Remember An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle

ISBN-10: 0520232054

ISBN-13: 9780520232051

Edition: 2001

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Description: The labor of black workers has been crucial to economic development in the United States. Yet because of racism and segregation, their contribution remains largely unknown. Spanning the 1930s to the present,Black Workers Remembertells the hidden history of African American workers in their own words. It provides striking firsthand accounts of the experiences of black southerners living under segregation in Memphis, Tennessee. Eloquent and personal, these oral histories comprise a unique primary source and provide a new way of understanding the black labor experience during the industrial era. Together, the stories demonstrate how black workers resisted racial apartheid in American industry and underscore the active role of black working people in history. The individual stories are arranged thematically in chapters on labor organizing, Jim Crow in the workplace, police brutality, white union racism, and civil rights struggles. Taken together, the stories ask us to rethink the conventional understanding of the civil rights movement as one led by young people and preachers in the 1950s and 1960s. Instead, we see the freedom struggle as the product of generations of people, including workers who organized unions, resisted Jim Crow at work, and built up their families, churches, and communities. The collection also reveals the devastating impact that a globalizing capitalist economy has had on black communities and the importance of organizing the labor movement as an antidote to poverty.QQ Michael Honey gathered these oral histories for more than fifteen years. He weaves them together here into a rich collection reflecting many tragic dimensions of America's racial history while drawing new attention to the role of workers and poor people in African American and American history.

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Book details

List price: $34.95
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 3/21/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 426
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.496
Language: English

Synopsis and Acknowledgments
Preface: Black History as Labor History
Introduction: The Power of Remembering
Segregation, Racial Violence, and Black Workers
Fannie Henderson Witnesses Southern Lynch Law
William Glover Recounts His Frame-up by the Memphis Police
Longshore Leader Thomas Watkins Escapes Assassination
From Country to City: Jim Crow at Work
Hillie and Laura Pride Move to Memphis
Matthew Davis Describes Heavy Industrial Work
George Holloway Remembers the Crump Era
Clarence Coe Recalls the Pressures of White Supremacy
Making a Way Out of No Way: Black Women Factory Workers
Irene Branch Does Double Duty as a Domestic and Factory Worker
Evelyn Bates Reflects on Her Lifetime of Factory Work
Susie Wade Tells How She Built a Life around Work
Rebecca McKinley Remembers the Strike at Memphis Furniture Company
Interlude: Not What We Seem
Freedom Struggles at the Point of Production
Clarence Coe Fights for Equality
Lonnie Roland and other Black Workers Implement the Brown Decision on the Factory Floor
George Holloway's Struggle against White Worker Racism
Organizing and Surviving in the Cold War
Leroy Clark Follows the Pragmatic Road to Survival in the Jim Crow South
Leroy Boyd Battles White Supremacy in the Era of the Red Scare
Interlude: Arts of Resistance
Civil Rights Unionism
Leroy Boyd Tells How Black Workers Used the Movement for Civil Rights to Revive Local 19
Factory Worker Matthew Davis Becomes a Community Leader
Edward Lindsey Recalls Black Union Politics
Alzada and Leroy Clark Fight for Unionism and Civil Rights
Alzada Clark Organizes Black Women Workers in Mississippi
"I Am a Man": Unionism and the Black Working Poor
Taylor Rogers Relives the Memphis Sanitation Strike
James Robinson Describes the Worst Job He Ever Had
Leroy Boyd and Clarence Coe Recall a Strike and the Death of Martin Luther King
William Lucy Reflects on the Strike's Meaning and Outcome
The Fate of the Black Working Class: The Global Economy, Racism, and Union Organizing
Confronting Deindustrialization
Ida Leachman Tells How Her Union Continues to Organize Low-Wage Workers
George Holloway and Clarence Coe Reflect on the Importance of Unions and the Struggle against Racism
Epilogue: Scars of Memory
References and Notes
Index
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