posts categorized asLaborOnline Articles

Media and Memory: The Battle of Blair Mountain

by on November 10, 2023

“Logan County Bristles with Machine Guns… Gaunt Hollow-eyed Men hold Ridges…Every Path is Guarded.” On September 1st, 1921, Washington Times announced that headline from West Virginia. Ten thousand armed coal miners occupied Blair Mountain in the state’s southern coalfields. In pitched mountainside battles in the days afterward, the miners aimed their rifles at local and federal law enforcement, who responded with machine guns, bombs and poison gas, exchanging thousands of rounds of ammunition.

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The Labor Movement Made Me a Labor Historian

by on November 8, 2023

I became a labor historian in the spring of 2014. This was unexpected. I was already in the third year of a doctoral program in the history department at Columbia University, studying war and memory in United States political culture. For PhD programs, the end of the third year is a little late in the day to switch topics, let alone sub-disciplines.

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William Riddell On the Waves of Empire

William D. Riddell On the Waves of Empire: U.S. Imperialism and Merchant Sailors, 1872-1924

by on August 31, 2023

Ian Rocksborough-Smith interviewed William D. Riddell about his new book On the Waves of Empire: U.S. Imperialism and Merchant Sailors, 1872-1924, published by the University of Illinois Press in 2023. Set mainly in the years preceding and following the Spanish-American War (1898) through World War I (1914-1918) and its aftermath, the book looks especially at the experiences of merchant sailors, their unions, and their labor leaders to indicate how class conflict impacted America’s emergent 20th Century empire.

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Michael Pierce Testifies about the Origin of Right to Work

by on August 25, 2023
In March 2023 historian Michael Pierce testified on the origins of right to work before the Michigan Senate Labor Committee when it was debating the repeal.  The Michigan AFL-CIO had seen the piece Michael wrote for us in 2017, and asked him to help lawmakers understand how the history helps us to see the current purpose of the legislation that has been a major means of depleting union power across the United States.
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Kevin Kenny on his new book, The Problem of Immigration in a Slaveholding Republic

by on August 4, 2023

Kevin Kenny, a noted scholar of labor history and immigration history, has recently published The Problem of Immigration in a Slaveholding Republic: Policing Mobility in the Nineteenth-Century United States (Oxford University Press 2023) which “explains how the existence, abolition, and legacies of slavery shaped American immigration policy as it moved from the local to the national level over the course of the nineteenth century.”

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