Chapter

The Fate of the Black Working Class

MICHAEL KEITH HONEY

in Black Workers Remember

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780520217744
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928060 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520217744.003.0011
The Fate of the Black Working Class

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This chapter explains that by the mid-1970s, black workers in a core of unionized factory jobs had torn down most Jim Crow barriers within their workplaces and unionism after decades of painful effort. Just as their labors began to really bear fruit in the form of family-wage jobs distributed on an equal basis, factory closings began to undercut all they had fought to achieve. The dawning progress of black industrial workers made the deindustrialization of parts of North America seem all the more disastrous. While public sector unions expanded, the shutdown of factories, many of them still profitable, ripped industrial unions to shreds during and after the 1980s. As companies moved production beyond U.S. borders or simply liquidated holdings to turn over higher profits, they tore up the foundations for probably the single largest group of stable wage-earning families in the black community.

Keywords: black community; deindustrialization; Jim Crow; family-wage jobs; black industrial workers

Chapter.  21152 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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