Black Unionism in the Industrial South (Google eBook)
In the early twentieth century, the Upper Texas Gulf Coast was one of the fastest growing industrial areas in the country. The cotton trade had attracted railroad and ship labor to the banks of the Gulf of Mexico, numerous oil refineries sprouted up in response to the Spindletop gusher of 1901, and the shipbuilding and steel trades were also prospering as a result of the oil boom. Such economic promise attracted thousands of black laborers from across the South who hoped to find a good job and a better life. They were instead kept in low-wage jobs, refused union memberships, and restricted in their mobility. Black Unionism in the Industrial South presents the struggles of black workers who fought for equality and unionization in the heyday of Gulf Coast industry. Ernest Obadele-Starks examines the workers' responses to racial and class domination and their creative strategies to reach their goal. Facing public and corporate policy that typically deferred to white workers, blacks banded together to achieve representation in the workplace, form union auxiliaries, charter their own local unions, seal alliances with members of the black middle class, and manipulate the media to benefit their cause. Personal accounts highlight the workers' passion, even when their requests and demands resulted in little more than "gradual participation, sporadic inclusion, and minimal interracial cooperation." Although workers supported each other and their cause, activists did debate over the best course of action, whether that was to focus on penetrating the white-dominated unions, creating new black unions, or seeking new employment with sympathetic members of the black middle class. All of these tools were eventually used to mobilize the work force and to earn recognition for the contribution black laborers made to industry and the community. Obadele-Starks eloquently captures these workers' fight and discusses the implications of their struggle on the industrial society of the Upper Texas Gulf Coast today. Students and scholars of American labor history, race relations, and Texas history will find Black Unionism in the Industrial South a valuable and compelling scholarly work.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
A Serious Menace to the White Union men The World of the Black Unionist
FiftyFifty Black Longshoremen and the Racial Paradox
BUILD ONE Of OUR OWN Railroad Workers Broaden the Struggle
Oil Workers and the Fight for mobility
Free of Company Domination Steelworkers Look Inward
WAR VIOLENCE AND SHIPBUILDING
agency American Arnesen Beaumont black and white black labor black longshoremen black oil black oil workers black railroad workers black unionism black unionists black workers black working class Botson Brotherhood BSCP chapter CIO's Coke Stevenson Colored company union contract CTA Collection Cuney Despite Ellinger employers employment federal FEPC Records folder Galveston Yard file Harris hiring Houston Informer Houston Public Library Houston Todd file HTCC Hughes Tool Company IMWU industry Jim Crow Labor History labor movement labor organizations labor unions longshore membership Mexicans MKT file NAACP National Negro Labor NLRB Oil Workers International Organized Labor percent plant political Port Arthur race racial discrimination racial equality refinery refused region segregation Shell file Shipbuilding ships shipyard South Spindletop struggle Texas Gulf Coast tion TLMC Upper Texas Gulf wages Wesley white unionists white unions white workers workforce workplace World War II