Search results for: brotherhoods-of-color-black-railroad-workers-and-the-struggle-for-equality

Brotherhoods of Color

Author : Eric ARNESEN
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From the time the first tracks were laid in the early nineteenth century, the railroad has occupied a crucial place in America's historical imagination. Now, for the first time, Eric Arnesen gives us an untold piece of that vital American institution--the story of African Americans on the railroad. African Americans have been a part of the railroad from its inception, but today they are largely remembered as Pullman porters and track layers. The real history is far richer, a tale of endless struggle, perseverance, and partial victory. In a sweeping narrative, Arnesen re-creates the heroic efforts by black locomotive firemen, brakemen, porters, dining car waiters, and redcaps to fight a pervasive system of racism and job discrimination fostered by their employers, white co-workers, and the unions that legally represented them even while barring them from membership. Decades before the rise of the modern civil rights movement in the mid-1950s, black railroaders forged their own brand of civil rights activism, organizing their own associations, challenging white trade unions, and pursuing legal redress through state and federal courts. In recapturing black railroaders' voices, aspirations, and challenges, Arnesen helps to recast the history of black protest and American labor in the twentieth century. Table of Contents: Prologue 1. Race in the First Century of American Railroading 2. Promise and Failure in the World War I Era 3. The Black Wedge of Civil Rights Unionism 4. Independent Black Unionism in Depression and War 5. The Rise of the Red Caps 6. The Politics of Fair Employment 7. The Politics of Fair Representation 8. Black Railroaders in the Modern Era Conclusion Notes Acknowledgments Index Reviews of this book: In this superbly written monograph, Arnesen...shows how African American railroad workers combined civil rights and labor union activism in their struggles for racial equality in the workplace...Throughout, black locomotive firemen, porters, yardmen, and other railroaders speak eloquently about the work they performed and their confrontations with racist treatment...This history of the 'aristocrats' of the African American working class is highly recommended. --Charles L. Lumpkins, Library Journal Reviews of this book: Arnesen provides a fascinating look at U.S. labor and commerce in the arena of the railroads, so much a part of romantic notions about the growth of the nation. The focus of the book is the troubled history of the railroads in the exploitation of black workers from slavery until the civil rights movement, with an insightful analysis of the broader racial integration brought about by labor activism. --Vanessa Bush, Booklist Reviews of this book: [An] exhaustive and illuminating work of scholarship. --Publishers Weekly Reviews of this book: Arnesen tells a story that should be of interest to a variety of readers, including those who are avid students of this country's railroads. He knows his stuff, and furthermore, reminds us of how dependent American railroads were on the backbreaking labor of racial and ethnic groups whose civil and political status were precarious at best: Irish, Chinese, Mexicans and Italians, as well as African-Americans. But Arnesen's most powerful and provocative argument is that the nature of discrimination not only led black railroad workers to pursue the path of independent unionism, it also propelled them into the larger struggle for civil rights. --Steven Hahn, Chicago Tribune

Black Protest and the Great Migration

Author : Eric Arnesen
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During World War I, as many as half a million southern African Americans permanently left the South to create new homes and lives in the urban North, and hundreds of thousands more would follow in the 1920s. This dramatic transformation in the lives of many black Americans involved more than geography: the increasingly visible “New Negro” and the intensification of grassroots black activism in the South as well as the North were the manifestations of a new challenge to racial subordination. Eric Arnesen’s unique collection of articles from a variety of northern, southern, black, and white newspapers, magazines, and books explores the “Great Migration,” focusing on the economic, social, and political conditions of the Jim Crow South, the meanings of race in general — and on labor in particular — in the urban North, the grassroots movements of social protest that flourished in the war years, and the postwar “racial counterrevolution.” An introduction by the editor, headnotes to documents, a chronology, questions for consideration, a bibliography, and an index are included.

Waterfront Workers of New Orleans

Author : Eric Arnesen
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"During the nineteenth century, American and foreign travelers often found New Orleans a delightful, exotic stop on their journeys; few failed to marvel at the riverfront, the center of the city's economic activity. . . . But absent from the tourism industry's historical recollection is any reference to the immigrants or black migrants and their children who constituted the army of laborers along the riverfront and provided the essential human power to keep the cotton, sugar, and other goods flowing. . . . In examining one diverse group of workers--the 10,000 to 15,000 cotton screwmen, longshoremen, cotton and round freight teamsters, cotton yardmen, railroad freight handlers, and Mississippi River roustabouts--this book focuses primarily on the workplace and the labor movement that emerged along the waterfront."--From the preface

The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939

Author : Robert L. Harris
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This book is a multifaceted approach to understanding the central developments in African American history since 1939. It combines a historical overview of key personalities and movements with essays by leading scholars on specific facets of the African American experience, a chronology of events, and a guide to further study. Marian Anderson's famous 1939 concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial was a watershed moment in the struggle for racial justice. Beginning with this event, the editors chart the historical efforts of African Americans to address racism and inequality. They explore the rise of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and the national and international contexts that shaped their ideologies and methods; consider how changes in immigration patterns have complicated the conventional "black/white" dichotomy in U.S. society; discuss the often uneasy coexistence between a growing African American middle class and a persistent and sizable underclass; and address the complexity of the contemporary African American experience. Contributors consider specific issues in African American life, including the effects of the postindustrial economy and the influence of music, military service, sports, literature, culture, business, and the politics of self-designation, e.g.,"Colored" vs. "Negro," "Black" vs. "African American". While emphasizing political and social developments, this volume also illuminates important economic, military, and cultural themes. An invaluable resource, The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939 provides a thorough understanding of a crucial historical period.

The Struggle for Black Equality

Author : Harvard Sitkoff
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The Struggle for Black Equality is a dramatic, memorable history of the civil rights movement. Harvard Sitkoff offers both a brilliant interpretation of the personalities and dynamics of civil rights organizations and a compelling analysis of the continuing problems plaguing many African Americans. With a new foreword and afterword, and an up-to-date bibliography, this anniversary edition highlights the continuing significance of the movement for black equality and justice.

A Companion to African American History

Author : Alton Hornsby, Jr.
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A Companion to African American History is a collection oforiginal and authoritative essays arranged thematically andtopically, covering a wide range of subjects from the seventeenthcentury to the present day. Analyzes the major sources and the most influential books andarticles in the field Includes discussions of globalization, region, migration,gender, class and social forces that make up the broad culturalfabric of African American history

New Working Class Studies

Author : John Russo
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"We put the working class, in all its varieties, at the center of our work. The new working-class studies is not only about the labor movement, or about workers of any particular kind, or workers in any particular place—even in the workplace. Instead, we ask questions about how class works for people at work, at home, and in the community. We explore how class both unites and divides working-class people, which highlights the importance of understanding how class shapes and is shaped by race, gender, ethnicity, and place. We reflect on the common interests as well as the divisions between the most commonly imagined version of the working class—industrial, blue-collar workers—and workers in the 'new economy' whose work and personal lives seem, at first glance, to place them solidly in the middle class."—from the Introduction In John Russo and Sherry Lee Linkon's book, contributors trace the origins of the new working-class studies, explore how it is being developed both within and across fields, and identify key themes and issues. Historians, economists, geographers, sociologists, and scholars of literature and cultural studies introduce many and varied aspects of this emerging field. Throughout, they consider how the study of working-class life transforms traditional disciplines and stress the importance of popular and artistic representations of working-class life.

Workers on Arrival

Author : Joe William Trotter
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From the ongoing issues of poverty, health, housing and employment to the recent upsurge of lethal police-community relations, the black working class stands at the center of perceptions of social and racial conflict today. Journalists and public policy analysts often discuss the black poor as “consumers” rather than “producers,” as “takers” rather than “givers,” and as “liabilities” instead of “assets.” In his engrossing new history, Workers on Arrival, Joe William Trotter, Jr. refutes these perceptions by charting the black working class’s vast contributions to the making of America. Covering the last four hundred years since Africans were first brought to Virginia in 1619, Trotter traces black workers’ complicated journey from the transatlantic slave trade through the American Century to the demise of the industrial order in the 21st century. At the center of this compelling, fast-paced narrative are the actual experiences of these African American men and women. A dynamic and vital history of remarkable contributions despite repeated setbacks, Workers on Arrival expands our understanding of America’s economic and industrial growth, its cities, ideas, and institutions, and the real challenges confronting black urban communities today.

A Working People

Author : Steven A. Reich
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In A Working People, historian Steven A. Reich examines the economic, political and cultural forces that have built and broken America’s black workforce for centuries. From the abolition of slavery through the Civil Rights Movement and Great Recession, African Americans have been singularly disadvantaged members of the workforce, repeatedly denied access to the opportunities all Americans are to be afforded under the Constitution.

Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America 1925 1945

Author : Beth Tompkins Bates
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Between World War I and World War II, African Americans' quest for civil rights took on a more aggressive character as a new group of black activists challenged the politics of civility traditionally embraced by old-guard leaders in favor of a more forceful protest strategy. Beth Tompkins Bates traces the rise of this new protest politics--which was grounded in making demands and backing them up with collective action--by focusing on the struggle of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) to form a union in Chicago, headquarters of the Pullman Company. Bates shows how the BSCP overcame initial opposition from most of Chicago's black leaders by linking its union message with the broader social movement for racial equality. As members of BSCP protest networks mobilized the black community around the quest for manhood rights and economic freedom, they broke down resistance to organized labor even as they expanded the boundaries of citizenship to include equal economic opportunity. By the mid-1930s, BSCP protest networks gained platforms at the national level, fusing Brotherhood activities first with those of the National Negro Congress and later with the March on Washington Movement. Lessons learned during this era guided the next generation of activists, who carried the black freedom struggle forward after World War II.