For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America Since 1865

Since winning Constitutional guarantees of freedom in 1865, African Americans have fought powerful social, political, and legal impediments to attaining the full rights of citizenship, both in the general polity and in the workplace. For Jobs and Freedom is a comprehensive study of African American struggles against racism and discrimination, as well as other race and labor issues in America, from the Civil War to the present. Award-winning labor historian Robert H. Zieger details numerous efforts by labor activists and policymakers to expand employment opportunities and achieve economic improvements for African American workers. Zieger chronicles the contradictions between the labor movement's egalitarian ideals and its racist practices. Despite organized labor's checkered past, African American workers have supported collective action and sought membership in labor unions, even forming segregated unions when necessary. For Jobs and Freedom also highlights organized labor's key support of the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the influential alliance of blacks and the labor movement at the heart of contemporary liberal politics.