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It is Union and Liberty, It is Union and Liberty, 0817309993, 0-8173-0999-3, 978-0-8173-0999-2, 9780817309992, , , It is Union and Liberty, 0817310002, 0-8173-1000-2, 978-0-8173-1000-4, 9780817310004,

It is Union and Liberty
Alabama Coal Miners, 1898-1998
Edited by Edwin L. Brown, Colin J. Davis

Hardcover
1999. 208 pp.
978-0-8173-0999-2
Price:  $39.95 s
Quality Paper
1999. 208 pp.
978-0-8173-1000-4
Price:  $24.95 s

This history of Alabama's coal miners documents the struggle not
only between labor and management but also between interracial unionism
and white supremacy.

Much of Alabama's labor history is written in its coal
fields. This book records the critical contribution that District 20 of
the United Mine Workers of America played in the state's labor movement
through its strong stands on such issues as child labor, public education,
and inter-racial unions.

Standing at the cutting edge of social and political
history, these essays cover five periods over a century of union activity:
the emergence of a militant labor force during mining's formative years;
the World War I era, when mine operators tried to divide black and white
labor; the increasing role of the state in labor relations during the interwar
years; rapid changes in the union between 1942 and 1975; and the 1977-79
strike, the largest in the United Mine Workers' history.

Through historic
photographs and depictions of living and working conditions, contributors
Edwin L. Brown, Colin J. Davis, Daniel Letwin, Brian M. Kelly, Peter Alexander,
Glenn Feldman, and Robert H. Woodrum portray the world that miners, both
black and white, made. In a state where racial segregation was the norm,
even the earliest District 20 contract proposals demanded equal pay for
equal work regardless of color. It Is Union and Liberty shows that the
UMW in Alabama stands apart from perceptions of southern trade unionism
as exclusionary and racially fragmented. It sheds light on an important
segment of the state's labor history and is a testament to District 20
on its centennial celebration.

Edwin Brown is Associate
Professor in the Center for Labor Education and Research and Colin Davis is Associate Professor in the Department of History, both at
the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


"It Is Union and Liberty is an essential read for anyoneinterested in southern and American working class history. The essays inthis coherently structured and systematically developed collection spanthe 20th century. The authors provide important new insights on issuesthat have dominated studies of labor history in recent years, includinginterracial unionism, rank-and-file activism, welfare capitalism and industrialpaternalism, union democracy, and the role of the state."
—Gary Fink, Georgia State University

"If you work at a non-union mine, you are required to disclaimany connection with any labor organization; you must work for wages andunder conditions fixed by the company. In fact, you must do anything thatthe 'boss' requires of you. He can dock you, he can fine you, he can layyou off, or he can fire you out, and you have no appeal. . . . It is unionand liberty, or it is individualism and slavery. "
Birmingham Labor Advocate

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