Taking History To Heart / Edition 1

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Deftly blending autobiography and history, James Green here reflects on thirty years as an activist, educator, and historian. He recounts how he became deeply immersed in political protest and in recovering and preserving the history of progressive social movements, and how the two are linked. His book, written in an engaging and accessible style, tells powerful stories of people in struggle, framed by the personal account of his own development.

As a historian, Green gives voice to generations of Americans who banded together to fight for social justice. His subjects range from the martyrs of the Haymarket tragedy to the Bread and Roses strikers of 1912, from depression-era struggles for democracy to the civil rights crusaders, from recent Rainbow Coalition campaigns to the latest union organizing drives.

As an activist, Green describes how his participation in the civil rights and labor movements of our own time has transformed his life, first as a student and radical scholar in the 1960s, then as a public historian and teacher of working-class students. He also describes his efforts to break free from academic confinement and "tell movement stories in public," in an attempt to offer hope and counsel to those still fighting for equality and fairness. He concludes with a revealing look at how awareness of past social activism has contributed to the revival of the labor movement during the last ten years, an effort in which Green has been vigorously engaged.
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What People Are Saying

David Roediger
David Roediger, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

A major book by a labor historian who has done more than anyone to produce democratic and usable working class history over the last thirty years. Consistently engaged by workers as his students, audience, and fellow activists, Green's history is rigorous and accessible.

Howard Zinn
This book makes a powerful contribution not only to the world of scholarship but also, in the spirit of its theme, to the larger community outside academe.
—Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States
Jon Weiner
Jon Wiener, University of California, Irvine

Green is one of the most thoughtful and knowledgeable of our labor historians, and a fine writer. This book addresses an urgent and complex issue: the relationship of historians to the public. Green poses a profound challenge to the way most historians work today.

Linda Chavez-Thompson
True to its title, James Green's Taking History to Heart demonstrates that the study of labor history is must reading for today's activists-not only because our history provides us with facts and figures about the men, women and events that came before us, but also because it vigorously encourages us to apply the powerful philosophy and hunger for justice that motivated us in the past to the economic and social struggles of the present.
— (Linda Chavez-Thompson, executive vice president, AFL-CIO)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558492424
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 4/24/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Making Movement History 1
Part 1 Practicing Movement History
Chapter 1 Discovering Movement History with the "Radical Americans" 25
Chapter 2 "Bringing the Boundaries of History Closer to People's Lives": The Massachusetts History Workshop 51
Chapter 3 Learning to Teach Movement History to Workers 73
Part 2 Telling Movement Stories in Public
Chapter 4 Commemorating Moments of Solidarity in Massachusetts Labor History 101
Chapter 5 Remembering Haymarket: Chicago's Labor Martyrs and Their Legacy 121
Chapter 6 Releasing Silenced Voices and Uncovering Forgotten Places in the American South 147
Chapter 7 Seeing the Past with "Movement Eyes": Making Documentary Films about People in Struggle 167
Part 3 Learning from Movement History
Chapter 8 Why Movement History Matters: The Politics of Class and Race in Boston 203
Chapter 9 Planting the Seeds of Resurgence: The United Mine Workers Strike Pittston Coal in 1989 227
Chapter 10 On Becoming a Movement Again: The Labor Union Revival in the 1990s 255
Notes 281
Acknowledgments 319
Index 325
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