Black Americans and Organized Labor: A New History

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"Paul D. Moreno offers a hold reinterpretation - truly a "new history" - of the role of race and racial discrimination in the American labor movement. Breaking with historians' deadlocked debate over the importance of race in labor organization, Moreno applies insights of the law-and-economics movement to formulate a powerfully compelling labor-race theorem of elegant simplicity: White unionists found that race was a convenient basis on which to do what unions do - control the labor supply. Not racism pure and simple but "the economics of
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Overview

"Paul D. Moreno offers a hold reinterpretation - truly a "new history" - of the role of race and racial discrimination in the American labor movement. Breaking with historians' deadlocked debate over the importance of race in labor organization, Moreno applies insights of the law-and-economics movement to formulate a powerfully compelling labor-race theorem of elegant simplicity: White unionists found that race was a convenient basis on which to do what unions do - control the labor supply. Not racism pure and simple but "the economics of discrimination" explains historic black absence and under-representation in unions." "Moreno's sweeping reexamination stretches from the antebellum period to the present, integrating relevant biographical details of principal figures such as Frederick Douglass and Samuel Gompers, Isaac Myers and Booker T. Washington, and W. E. B. Du Bois and A. Philip Randolph. Throughout, he focuses on the liberal-individualist philosophy that underlay the nineteenth-century principle of the right to work, a philosophy that the progressive or twentieth-century liberal view came to override but never fully eradicate. He traces changing attitudes and practices during the simultaneous black migration to the North and consolidation of organized labor's power, through the confusing and conflicted post-World War II period, in the course of the civil rights movement, and into the era of affirmative action. Along the way, he exposes the impact of federal and state employment policies, transformations in the southern economy, the role of blacks in the cold war political economy, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964." Maneuvering across a wide span to time and a broad array of issues, Moreno brings remarkable clarity to the question of the importance of race in unions. He impressively weaves together labor, policy, and African American history into a cogent, persuasive revisionist study that cannot be ignored.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807130940
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 334
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul D. Moreno is the author of From Direct Action to Affirmative Action: Fair Employment Law and Policy in America, 1933--1972. He is Grewcock Professor of History at Hillsdale College in Michigan and, in 2005-6, a visiting fellow at Princeton University's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.

LSU Press

Paul D. Moreno, Grewcock Professor of History at Hillsdale College in Michigan, is a member of the James Madison Society of the Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University and the author of From Direct Action to Affirmative Action: Fair Employment Law and Policy in America, 1933-1972.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

1 Free labor 8
2 From reconstruction to Jim Crow, 1877-1895 41
3 Blacks and labor in the progressive era, 1900-1920 82
4 From progressivism to the New Deal, 1920-1935 137
5 The New Deal and world war 176
6 The civil rights era, 1950-1965 220
7 The affirmative action dilemma, 1965-present 259
App "Divide and conquer" : the folklore of socialism 289
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