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A Contest of IdeasCapital, Politics, and Labor$
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Nelson Lichtenstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037856

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037856.001.0001

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Opportunities Found and Lost

Opportunities Found and Lost

Labor, Radicals, and the Early Civil Rights Movement

(p.109) Chapter 8 Opportunities Found and Lost
A Contest of Ideas

Robert Korstad

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores two examples of the workplace-oriented civil rights militancy that arose in the 1940s—one in the South and one in the North. It analyzes the unionization of predominantly black tobacco workers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the ferment in the United Auto Workers in Detroit, Michigan, that made that city a center of black working-class activism in the North. Similar movements took root among newly organized workers in the cotton compress mills of Memphis, the tobacco factories of Richmond and Charleston, the steel mills of Pittsburgh and Birmingham, the stockyards and farm equipment factories of Chicago and Louisville, and the shipyards of Baltimore and Oakland.

Keywords:   civil rights movement, civil rights militancy, unionization, black tobacco workers, United Auto Workers, worker activism

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