Chapter

Longshore Culture and the Decline of the Port of Portland in the Mid- to Late Twentieth Century

Michael C. Connolly

in Seated by the Sea

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037226
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041759 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813037226.003.0007
Longshore Culture and the Decline of the Port of Portland in the Mid- to Late Twentieth Century

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The mid- to late twentieth century represented a period of steady decline along Portland's waterfront, with the exception of the World War II boom during the few years leading up to 1945. This chapter begins by using oral histories of longshoremen, mostly born around the year 1900, to create a sense of the culture that existed in the Irish neighborhoods of Portland and along its working waterfront. These workers also comment on the rivalry between the East Coast International Longshoremen's Association led by Joe Ryan and the West Coast ILWU led by Harry Bridges. The issue of anti-communism and anti-labor legislation in the 1950s is pursued. Although by 1923 the Maine State Pier was completed, its arrival coincided with the emergence of more modern facilities in the Canadian ports of Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia. These developments did not bode well for Portland's longshoremen.

Keywords: Joseph Ryan; Harry Bridges; anti-communism; Maine State Pier; Saint John; Halifax

Chapter.  13082 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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