Cover for PHILLIPS: AlabamaNorth: African-American Migrants, Community, and Working-Class Activism in Cleveland, 1915-45


African-American Migrants, Community, and Working-Class Activism in Cleveland, 1915-45
Awards and Recognition:

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

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." In this remarkable study, Kimberley 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. Phillips shows how migrants' moves north established complex networks of kin and friends and infused the city with a highly visible southern African-American culture. She examines the wide variety of black fraternal, benevolent, social, and church-based organizations working-class migrants created and demonstrates how they prepared the way for new forms of individual and collective activism in workplaces and the city. Giving special consideration to the employment patterns and experiences of working-class black women in Cleveland, AlabamaNorth reveals how migrants' expressions of tradition and community gave them a new consciousness of themselves as organized workers in the urban North and created the underpinning for new forms of black labor activism.

"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 Waterfron Workers of New Orleans

Kimberley L. Phillips, an assistant professor of history at the College of William and Mary, curated the Western Reserve Historical Society exhibit "Identity, Dignity, and Community: African-American Religious Experiences in Cleveland."

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