Working-Class Americanism

Working-Class Americanism

Author: Gary Gerstle

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691228235

Category: History

Page: 373

View: 743

In this classic interpretation of the 1930s rise of industrial unionism, Gary Gerstle challenges the popular historical notion that American workers' embrace of "Americanism" and other patriotic sentiments in the post-World War I years indicated their fundamental political conservatism. He argues that Americanism was a complex, even contradictory, language of nationalism that lent itself to a wide variety of ideological constructions in the years between World War I and the onset of the Cold War. Using the rich and textured material left behind by New England's most powerful textile union--the Independent Textile Union of Woonsocket, Rhode Island--Gerstle uncovers for the first time a more varied and more radical working-class discourse.

The Gospel of the Working Class

The Gospel of the Working Class

Author: Erik S. Gellman

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252093333

Category: Social Science

Page: 232

View: 848

In this exceptional dual biography and cultural history, Erik S. Gellman and Jarod Roll trace the influence of two southern activist preachers, one black and one white, who used their ministry to organize the working class in the 1930s and 1940s across lines of gender, race, and geography. Owen Whitfield and Claude Williams, along with their wives Zella Whitfield and Joyce Williams, drew on their bedrock religious beliefs to stir ordinary men and women to demand social and economic justice in the eras of the Great Depression, New Deal, and Second World War. Williams and Whitfield preached a working-class gospel rooted in the American creed that hard, productive work entitled people to a decent standard of living. Gellman and Roll detail how the two preachers galvanized thousands of farm and industrial workers for the Southern Tenant Farmers Union and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. They also link the activism of the 1930s and 1940s to that of the 1960s and emphasize the central role of the ministers' wives, with whom they established the People's Institute for Applied Religion. This detailed narrative illuminates a cast of characters who became the two couples' closest allies in coordinating a complex network of activists that transcended Jim Crow racial divisions, blurring conventional categories and boundaries to help black and white workers make better lives. In chronicling the shifting contexts of the actions of Whitfield and Williams, The Gospel of the Working Class situates Christian theology within the struggles of some of America's most downtrodden workers, transforming the dominant narratives of the era and offering a fresh view of the promise and instability of religion and civil rights unionism.

The Making of Working-Class Religion

The Making of Working-Class Religion

Author: Matthew Pehl

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252098840

Category: Political Science

Page: 280

View: 649

Religion has played a protean role in the lives of America's workers. In this innovative volume, Matthew Pehl focuses on Detroit to examine the religious consciousness constructed by the city's working-class Catholics, African American Protestants, and southern-born white evangelicals and Pentecostals between 1910 and 1969. Pehl embarks on an integrative view of working-class faith that ranges across boundaries of class, race, denomination, and time. As he shows, workers in the 1910s and 1920s practiced beliefs characterized by emotional expressiveness, alliance with supernatural forces, and incorporation of mass culture's secular diversions into the sacred. That gave way to the more pragmatic class-conscious religion cultures of the New Deal era and, from the late Thirties on, a quilt of secular working-class cultures that coexisted in competitive, though creative, tension. Finally, Pehl shows how the ideology of race eclipsed class in the 1950s and 1960s, and in so doing replaced the class-conscious with the race-conscious in religious cultures throughout the city.

Death and Dying in the Working Class, 1865-1920

Death and Dying in the Working Class, 1865-1920

Author: Michael K. Rosenow

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252097119

Category: Political Science

Page: 264

View: 500

Michael K. Rosenow investigates working people's beliefs, rituals of dying, and the politics of death by honing in on three overarching questions: How did workers, their families, and their communities experience death? Did various identities of class, race, gender, and religion coalesce to form distinct cultures of death for working people? And how did people's attitudes toward death reflect notions of who mattered in U.S. society? Drawing from an eclectic array of sources ranging from Andrew Carnegie to grave markers in Chicago's potter's field, Rosenow portrays the complex political, social, and cultural relationships that fueled the United States' industrial ascent. The result is an undertaking that adds emotional depth to existing history while challenging our understanding of modes of cultural transmission.

Black Workers' Struggle for Equality in Birmingham

Black Workers' Struggle for Equality in Birmingham

Author: Horace Huntley

Publisher:

ISBN: UCSC:32106017877066

Category: History

Page: 272

View: 153

Now in paper, this volume is the first set of annotated oral interviews from the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement to be undertaken by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Interviewees recount their struggles against discrimination both in and outside of the workplace, showing how collective action, whether through unions, the Movement, or networks of workplace activists, sought to gain access to better jobs, municipal services, housing, and less restrictive voter registration. This is a powerful work that reconsiders the links of the labor movement to the struggle for civil rights.

The Bosses' Union

The Bosses' Union

Author: Vilja Hulden

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252053887

Category: Political Science

Page: 264

View: 797

At the opening of the twentieth century, labor strife repeatedly racked the nation. Union organization and collective bargaining briefly looked like a promising avenue to stability. But both employers and many middle-class observers remained wary of unions exercising independent power. Vilja Hulden reveals how this tension provided the opening for pro-business organizations to shift public attention from concerns about inequality and dangerous working conditions to a belief that unions trampled on an individual's right to work. Inventing the term closed shop, employers mounted what they called an open-shop campaign to undermine union demands that workers at unionized workplaces join the union. Employer organizations lobbied Congress to resist labor's proposals as tyrannical, brought court cases to taint labor's tactics as illegal, and influenced newspaper coverage of unions. While employers were not a monolith nor all-powerful, they generally agreed that unions were a nuisance. Employers successfully leveraged money and connections to create perceptions of organized labor that still echo in our discussions of worker rights.

Bridgeport's Socialist New Deal, 1915-36

Bridgeport's Socialist New Deal, 1915-36

Author: Cecelia Bucki

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 025202687X

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 326

View: 837

In November 1933, the Socialist Party of Bridgeport, Connecticut won a stunning victory in the municipal election, putting slate roofer Jasper McLevy in the mayor's seat and nearly winning control of the city council. In probing the factors that led to this electoral victory and its continuation, Bucki uncovers a legacy of activist unionism, business manipulation of local politics and taxes, and a growing debate over the public good that revealed how working people viewed their government and their own roles as citizens. As a backdrop to the evolving national developments of the New Deal, this study stands at the intersection of political, labor, and ethnic history and provides a new perspective on how working people affected urban politics in the inter-war era.Bridgeport's Socialist New Deal, 1915-36 explores how labor gained first a foothold and then a stronghold in local politics as broad debates over taxes, budgets, city services, and the definition of public good pitted previously unengaged working-class citizens against local business leaders and traditional party elites. In the heat of the Great Depression, the skilled AFL craftsmen who made up the bulk of the city's Socialist Party stepped in to fill a political void created by the crumbling of mainstream parties, the disintegration of traditional modes of ethnic politics, and the fiscal crisis of the city. Representing the concerns of ethnic working-class communities only weakly allied to the mainstream American parties, the Bridgeport Socialists rode into office on a wave of popular antibusiness anger and New Deal enthusiasm.Once in office, McLevy and his party were hamstrung by legislative measures that gave substantial control of finances to local business leaders. Bucki details the compromise politics of Bridgeport and shows how the local party, after splitting from the Socialist Party of America in 1936, became more narrowly focused and reformist, though still serving as the voice of the working class.The Bridgeport Socialist Party's remarkable move from outsider critic to occupant of city hall illustrates the volatility of politics in the early depression years. It also reveals the curbing influence of conservative business and political interests, not only on the Bridgeport Socialists, but also on the more radical prongs of the New Deal.

Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World

Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World

Author: Joshua B. Freeman

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 9780393246322

Category: History

Page: 464

View: 285

“Freeman’s rich and ambitious Behemoth depicts a world in retreat that still looms large in the national imagination.… More than an economic history, or a chronicle of architectural feats and labor movements.”—Jennifer Szalai, New York Times In an accessible and timely work of scholarship, celebrated historian Joshua B. Freeman tells the story of the factory and examines how it has reflected both our dreams and our nightmares of industrialization and social change. He whisks readers from the early textile mills that powered the Industrial Revolution to the factory towns of New England to today’s behemoths making sneakers, toys, and cellphones in China and Vietnam. Behemoth offers a piercing perspective on how factories have shaped our societies and the challenges we face now.

Labor's End

Labor's End

Author: Jason Resnikoff

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252053214

Category: History

Page: 280

View: 649

Labor's End traces the discourse around automation from its origins in the factory to its wide-ranging implications in political and social life. As Jason Resnikoff shows, the term automation expressed the conviction that industrial progress meant the inevitable abolition of manual labor from industry. But the real substance of the term reflected industry's desire to hide an intensification of human work--and labor's loss of power and protection--behind magnificent machinery and a starry-eyed faith in technological revolution. The rhetorical power of the automation ideology revealed and perpetuated a belief that the idea of freedom was incompatible with the activity of work. From there, political actors ruled out the workplace as a site of politics while some of labor's staunchest allies dismissed sped-up tasks, expanded workloads, and incipient deindustrialization in the name of technological progress. A forceful intellectual history, Labor's End challenges entrenched assumptions about automation's transformation of the American workplace.