Quincy Mills, Professor of History at the University of Maryland in College Park, talks about black barbers, the evolution of their trade, and its political meaning as a skilled form of labor.
Plus: poet Martin Espada reads his poem "Castles for the Laborers and Ballgames on the Radio," written for his friend, historian Howard Zinn. This week’s Labor History in 2: The Amistad.
Last week’s show: A travel guide to labor landmarks
White and Chinese immigrants battle in Rock Springs, Wyo. fueled by racial tensions and the practice of Union Pacific Raiload of hiring lower-paid Chinese over whites. At least 25 Chinese died and 15 more were injured. Rioters burned 75 Chinese homes - 1885
Mineowners bomb West Virginia strikers by plane, using homemade bombs filled with nails and metal fragments. The bombs missed their targets or failed to explode - 1921
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was signed by President Ford, regulating and insuring pensions and other benefits, and increasing protections for workers - 1974
African-American cotton pickers organize and strike in Lee County, Tex. against miserably low wages and other injustices, including a growers’ arrangement with local law enforcement to round up blacks on vagrancy charges, then force them to work off their fines on select plantations. Over the course of September a white mob put down the strike, killing 15 strikers in the process - 1891
Some 300 musicians working in Chicago movie houses strike to protest their impending replacement by talking movies - 1928
Twenty-five workers die, unable to escape a fire at the Imperial Poultry processing plant in Hamlet, NC. Managers had locked fire doors to prevent the theft of chicken nuggets. The plant had operated for 11 years without a single safety inspection - 1991
- David Prosten; photo courtesy Smithsonian Magazine (Tom MacCallum)