This week’s Labor History Today podcast: Cutting along the Color Line
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)