Cover for HUNTLEY: Black Workers' Struggle for Equality in Birmingham. Click for larger image

Black Workers' Struggle for Equality in Birmingham

Union building and civil rights activism in a tightly segregated industrial city

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.

"For those who employ oral narratives as a means to explore experiences in the segregated south, Black Workers' Struggle for Equality in Birmingham should be a welcome addition. With the excellent introduction by David Motgomery, much can be gleaned from this collection of narratives."--Labor History

"Accessible to a broad audience, Black Workers' Struggle for Equality in Birmingham will prove useful as a resource in undergraduate labor history courses and for students seeking easy access to compelling documentary evidence of the close ties between black workers' participation in labor organizing and their battle for civil rights. Montgomery's analytical introduction will benefit all who are concerned with issues of race and labor."--Labor Studies Journal

"There is perhaps no better place to start for an insight into the specifics of white supremacy and the harsh struggle for economic justice and freedom that has characterized working-class and black life in the South and America."--Journal of Southern History

"The oral histories excerpted here document the rich organizational networks that suffused the community, and the 'sphere of self-organized workers' activity' largely ignored by historians that was key to the movement's tenacity and ultimate successes."--Anarcho-Syndicalist Review

"This book is a must-read for anyone searching for firsthand knowledge of how hard minorities had to fight for equality in a land of opportunity. It is also a must-read for those seeking to understand minorities' shared experience of never giving up."--U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Labor Review

Horace Huntley is a professor of history at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, the director of the Oral History Project and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. David Montgomery (19272011) was a professor emeritus of history at Yale and the author of The Fall of the House of Labor: The Workplace, the State, and American Labor Activism, 1865-1925 and other books.

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