The Black Labor movement has remained in the shadows of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. The erasure of the labor unions role in civil rights is most apparent when The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Unions is simply referred to as the March on Washington. However, Black membership played an important role in both struggles and ensuring better livelihoods for Blacks.
CLR James said, “The Negroes, due to their place as the most oppressed section of the labor force and their sense of national oppression, have always shown themselves on the whole exceptionally ready to join the forces of organized labor”. Unionization has historically produced higher wagers for black workers. Sadly, African American unionizing efforts consistently met with resistance from both employers and from existing white unions. Black workers who attempted to organize themselves for a better livelihood faced not only loss of employment and being blacklisted, but also faced being victims to violent actions by the police, militia, and vigilante groups.
Read more about the Black Labor Movement on Black Culture
Are you aware of the history of African Americans and the Labor Movement? Why do you think this part of history isn’t taught or glorified?