New Orleans Dockworkers

Race, Labor, and Unionism 1892-1923

By Daniel Rosenberg

Series: SUNY series in American Labor History
Paperback : 9780887066504, 233 pages, February 1988
Hardcover : 9780887066498, 233 pages, February 1988

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This book investigates the conditions which led to a remarkable instance of interracial solidarity known as "half and half," an expression used to identify the cooperation and cohesion among 10,000 Black and white dockworkers during the early twentieth century. Through interracial agreements which divided work and union leadership equally between Blacks and whites, dockworkers reduced the workload and pace imposed by shipping firms, and formed the basis for the general dock strike of 1907, described as "one of the most stirring manifestations of labor solidarity in American history. " Rosenberg explores the phenomenon of "half and half" within the context of progressive segregation, as employers encouraged competition between and division of the races.

Rosenberg also probes the nature of longshore work, dockworkers' views of Jim Crow, and industrial unionist trends, as well as the conclusions drawn by dockers after the levee race riots of the 1890s—"the working of the white and negro races on terms of equality has been the fruitful source of most of the trouble on the New Orleans levee. "

Daniel Rosenberg teaches history at Adelphi University and at the Center for Labor Studies, Empire State College, State University of New York.