FW: Newberry Library Seminar - Southern Lumber (X-Post, H-Labor)
- fyi...aj wright // ajwright@...
From: New Deal Network [mailto:tt544@...]
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2002 7:20 AM
Subject: Newberry Library Seminar - Southern Lumber (X-Post, H-Labor)
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 08:42:29 -0500
From: Seth Wigderson <Sethw@...>
Subject: Newberry Library Seminar - Southern Lumber - 11 Oct '02 - Chicago
The Newberry Library Labor History Seminar co-sponsored by the Chicago and
Urbana campuses of the University of Illinois
Race, Proletarianization, and Industrial Unionism in the Southern Lumber
Industry, 1929-1938 William P. Jones, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
October 11, 2002, 3:00-5:00 pm
Why did the CIO's 1938 southern organizing drive focus almost exclusively on
textiles? According to Robert Zieger, the focus was logical for three
reasons: the size of the industry, the militancy of the workers in the 1929
and 1934 strikes, and the tactical advantage of an all white work force not
hampered by Jim Crow segregation. However, the lumber industry employed
nearly the same number of southerners, mostly African Americans, and lumber
workers supported militant organizing drives in 1913 and 1919. How, then,
can we explain the lack of organizing in the southern forests? This paper
argues that AFL and CIO organizers avoided the southern lumber industry in
the 1930s because they believed the history of slavery and Jim Crow had
rendered black employees too dependent to challenge despotic employers.
Whereas many liberal union and civil rights activists came to view unions as
complementary to the fight against racism in the 1940s, the consensus in the
1930s was that organizing black workers would accomplish little more than
enflaming white racism. A small group of black radicals challenged these
ideas in the 1930s, however, the AFL and CIO did not support union drives in
the southern lumber industry until after 1941 in the context of a tight
wartime labor market and strengthened federal labor laws.
We will pre-circulate papers (electronically whenever possible) to those
planning to attend. If you cannot attend and want to read a paper, please
contact the author directly. E-mail or call to receive a copy of the papers.
Please include your e-mail address in all correspondence.
The full schedule for this and other Scholl Center seminars is available at
Scholl Center for Family and Community History
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610