Lecture Description

In recent years scholarship on the “New Negro movement” has expanded our understanding of the Black experience. Much of this work has emphasized Black Nationalist and anticolonial struggles, particularly Garveyism. This lecture will explore a lesser-known aspect of African American interwar activism, workers’ education. In the early twentieth century Black and white women in the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) launched an American workers’ education movement that would shape not only the labor movement, but also the civil rights and feminist movements. Black female activists, such as Ella Baker and Pauli Murray, were key players in this movement through their work at Brookwood Labor College, the cooperative movement, and New Deal agencies. Their vision and energy shaped an international movement committed to racial and class equality.


African American Labor and Working Class

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