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Organizing Dixie, Organizing Dixie, 0817354417, 0-8173-5441-7, 978-0-8173-5441-1, 9780817354411,

Organizing Dixie
Alabama's Workers in the Industrial Era
by Philip Taft
Edited by Gary M. Fink

Quality Paper
2007. 256 pp.
978-0-8173-5441-1
Price:  $34.95 s

"As befits a state in which coal, iron, and steel were the bulwarks of its industrial sector, Taft stresses that history of unionism among coal miners and iron and steel workers. Here we learn much about the experiences of the United Mine Workers of America and the Steel Workers Organizing Committee—United Steelworkers of America in the Deep South. Yet Taft does not neglect the history of other Alabama workers. Building tradesmen, railroad employees, textile millhands, and Gadsden’s rubber workers all appear in the pages of this book. Here we have the most complete and modern history of a state labor movement in the South written from the perspective of its institutional leaders." —American Historical Review


"Taft makes it clear that, even in a Deep South state with some of the most reactionary political traditions, courageous trade-union brothers and sisters—black and white—struggled hard and well to secure some measure of social justice." —Journal of American History


"As befits a state in which coal, iron, and steel were the bulwarks of its industrial sector, Taft stresses that history of unionism among coal miners and iron and steel workers. Here we learn much about the experiences of the United Mine Workers of America and the Steel Workers Organizing Committee—United Steelworkers of America in the Deep South. Yet Taft does not neglect the history of other Alabama workers. Building tradesmen, railroad employees, textile millhands, and Gadsden’s rubber workers all appear in the pages of this book. Here we have the most complete and modern history of a state labor movement in the South written from the perspective of its institutional leaders." —American Historical Review


"This is a characteristic Taft enterprise: exhaustive, earnest, straightforward, and indefatigable. Although Taft had his "theories," it was in his nature that he resolutely resisted overarching generalization....Taft's art lies in the way he allows the record to tell its own stories. The cumulative effect is not unlike a Dreiser novel in this respect. His unadorned prose conveys the trials and ordeals of Alabama trade unionism more powerfully than would a more literary exercise. Perhaps Taft's own experience as a worker, as a Wobbly for a time, gave him an empathy with and insight into the workers' condition that most labor historians do not have. Always there is the effort to interpret the situation in the workers' own terms before he renders a critical judgment. I think it is this quality more than anything else that shines through everything Taft has ever written about workers and unions....This is a worthy work to mark the end of [Taft's] life." --Jack Barbash, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Labor Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review

 


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