African-American Migrants, Community, and Working-Class Activism in Cleveland, 1915-45
Author: Kimberley L. Phillips
How southern black women built new lives and new communities in a northern city
Paper – $27
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1999
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format Preview

About the Book

Langston Hughes called it "a great dark tide from the South": the unprecedented influx of blacks into Cleveland that gave the city the nickname "Alabama North." Kimberley L. Phillips reveals the breadth of working class black experiences and activities in Cleveland and the extent to which these were shaped by traditions and values brought from the South.

Migrants' moves north established complex networks of kin and friends and infused Cleveland with a highly visible southern African American culture. Phillips examines the variety of black fraternal, benevolent, social, and church-based organizations that working class migrants created and demonstrates how these groups prepared the way for new forms of individual and collective activism in workplaces and the city. Giving special consideration to the experiences of working class black women, AlabamaNorth reveals how migrants' expressions of tradition and community gave them a new consciousness of themselves as organized workers and created the underpinning for new forms of black labor activism.

About the Author

Kimberley L. Phillips is former Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings associate professor of history and American studies and co-chair of the Lemon Project Committee at the College of William & Mary. Her books include War! What Is It Good For? Black Freedom Struggles and the U.S. Military from World War II to Iraq.



"Kimberley Phillips's fine study . . . will be of real value to scholars of African American, labor, women's, and working class history."--Joe William Trotter, author of Black Milwaukee: The Making of and Industrial Proletariat, 1915-45

"Phillips weaves the multiple voices of her subjects into the broader tapestry of the African American experience, vividly conveying the textures of working-class life and applying considerable attention to black agency and resistance. Her incorporation of black women's experiences in the labor market, church, and community makes this a model study of black urban and working class history."--Eric Arnesen, author of Waterfront Workers of New Orleans: Race, Class, and Politics


Winner of the Richard L. Wentworth Prize in American History, 1999.