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A Working People: A History of African American Workers Since Emancipation - The African American History Series (Hardback)
  • A Working People: A History of African American Workers Since Emancipation - The African American History Series (Hardback)
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A Working People: A History of African American Workers Since Emancipation - The African American History Series (Hardback)

(author), (series editor), (series editor)
£39.95
Hardback 244 Pages / Published: 12/09/2013
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In A Working People, historian Steven A. Reich examines the economic, political and cultural forces that have built and broken America's black workforce for centuries. From the abolition of slavery through the Civil Rights Movement and Great Recession, African Americans have been singularly disadvantaged members of the workforce, repeatedly denied access to the opportunities all Americans are to be afforded under the Constitution.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442203327
Number of pages: 244
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 235 x 160 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Reich has structured this book wisely. He clearly understands how to frame historical arguments in a way that will encourage discussion and debate. -- Paul Ortiz, University of Florida
The title and subtitle of this book say it all. This concisely written history of African American workers recounts the slow progress and many reversals of a people willing to work but consistently denied access to decent working conditions, decent remuneration, vocational education, and the opportunity to advance on the job. In short, it is the story of a people denied the American Dream. Reich (James Madison Univ.; author of Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration, 2006) divides the time line for his work into the post-Civil War era; the introduction of Jim Crow and the resurgence of white supremacy; the migration from the agrarian South to the industrial North; the Depression and WW II; post-WW II and Korea: and the trials and struggles of the civil rights era. A subtheme of the book is the rise and diminution of the economic rights of America's working class. Nothing of note is lacking from Reich's account. This work is a perfect supplement for classes in race and ethnicity, labor history, and diversity. Of special interest is the 'Documents' section, which contains contemporaneous narratives and interviews of those who watched these events transpire. Excellent notes and a selected bibliography. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels of undergraduate students; general readers. * CHOICE *
In 1982, William H. Harris published The Harder We Run, a concise narrative of black workers since the end of slavery that has been used in scores of undergraduate labor and African American history courses. Steven Reich's A Working People is a worthy successor to Harris's outdated work. It is a didactic, accessible overview of African American workers since emancipation, which provides a solid base for general readers and suggestive research possibilities for those wishing to probe more deeply. A strong bibliographic essay and thirty-six pages of primary source documents bolster research efforts. * Journal of American Culture *
Understanding that political equality and meaningful civic participation required a firm economic foundation, African Americans waged their long struggle for civil rights not just at the ballot box and the realm of public accommodations but in the the workplace and union hall as well. Too often, however, the crucial economic dimension of the freedom struggle has been neglected or minimized in standard accounts. In A Working People: A History of African American Workers Since Emancipation, Steven Reich effectively redresses this problem. He offers readers a compelling, sophisticated and comprehensive account of black workers' struggles to open up jobs, achieve economic mobility, and participate fully in the nation's economy. This is an indispensible book for anyone seeking to understand the full scope of the movements for civil rights since the era of emancipation. -- Eric Arnesen, George Washington University
With this masterful synthesis, Steven Reich shows how black workers overcame tremendous barriers to shape the United States in the century following emancipation. -- William P. Jones, University of Wisconsin - Madison
In this masterful synthesis, Reich shines the spotlight on African Americans as workers seeking racial and economic justice in the century and a half since the abolition of slavery. More than a labor history, Reich shows how the impulse to make a living and a life as equal and full participants in American society has been intimately connected to the larger black freedom movement. This clearly written, accessible history helps explain why the struggle for racial economic equality is not over. -- Beth T. Bates, Professor Emerita, Wayne State University

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