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Manhood on the LineWorking-Class Masculinities in the American Heartland$
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Stephen Meyer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040054

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040054.001.0001

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The Challenge to White Manhood

The Challenge to White Manhood

Black Men and Women Move to White Male Jobs, 1940–1945

(p.165) 7 The Challenge to White Manhood
Manhood on the Line

Stephen Meyer

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers how the increase in numbers of African American men at the workplace brought differing and contentious visions of manhood to the automotive factory. White men, who had long dominated the better jobs, divided into two groups: those who strove for the respectability of high-paid union jobs and those who resented others, fearing the loss of their exclusive white privileges. When black men fought for workplace equity, the more conservative whites conducted racial hate strikes to protect traditionally “white” jobs. In reaction, African American workers conducted what might best be labeled “pride strikes” to gain access to better jobs and later to improve the inequitable situation of black women in the automobile factories. These workplace struggles involved robust clashes over differing visions of manhood.

Keywords:   African American workers, workplace equity, racial hate strikes, pride strikes, black men, black women, white male jobs, manhood, racism, sexism

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