Out of the Crucible: Black Steel Workers in Western Pennsylvania, 1875-1980

SUNY Press
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This book examines in depth the century-long struggle of Black laborers in the iron and steel industry of western Pennsylvania. In the process it shows how the fate of these Black workers mirrors the contemporary predicament of the Black working class and the development of a chronically unemployed underclass in America’s declining industrial centers. Dickerson argues that persistent racial discrimination within heavy industry and the decline of major industries during the 1970s are key to understanding the social and economic situation of twentieth-century urban Blacks.

Through a blend of historical research and contemporary interviews, this study chronicles the struggle of Black steelworkers to gain equality in the industry and the setbacks suffered as American steelmaking succumbed to foreign competition and antiquated modes of production. The plight of western Pennsylvania’s Black steelworkers reflects that of Black laborers in Chicago, Gary, Detroit, Cleveland, Youngstown, Birmingham, and other major American cities where heavy industry once flourished.
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About the author

Dennis C. Dickerson, First Tennessee Professor of History, teaches at Rhodes College, Memphis.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 1986
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Pages
323
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ISBN
9781438401164
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Dennis C. Dickerson
During the turbulent 1960s, civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. devised a new and effective strategy to achieve equality for African Americans. Young blended interracial mediation with direct protest, demonstrating that these methods pursued together were the best tactics for achieving social, economic, and political change. Militant Mediator is a powerful reassessment of this key and controversial figure in the civil rights movement. It is the first biography to explore in depth the influence Young's father, a civil rights leader in Kentucky, had on his son. Dickerson traces Young's swift rise to national prominence as a leader who could bridge the concerns of deprived blacks and powerful whites and mobilize the resources of the white America to battle the poverty and discrimination at the core of racial inequality. Alone among his civil rights colleagues -- Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, John Lewis, and James Forman -- Young built support from black and white constituencies. As a National Urban League official in the Midwest and as a dean of the School of Social Work at Atlanta University during the 1940s and 1950s, Young developed a strategy of mediation and put it to work on a national level upon becoming the executive director of the League in 1961. Though he worked with powerful whites, Young also drew support from middle-and working-class blacks from religious, fraternal, civil rights, and educational organizations. As he navigated this middle ground, though, Young came under fire from both black nationalists and white conservatives.
Dennis C. Dickerson
During most of the twentieth century, Archibald J. Carey, Sr. (1868-1931) and Archibald J. Carey, Jr. (1908-1981), father and son, exemplified a blend of ministry and politics that many African American religious leaders pursued. Their sacred and secular concerns merged in efforts to improve the spiritual and material well-being of their congregations. But as political alliances became necessary, both wrestled with moral consequences and varied outcomes. Both were ministers to Chicago's largest African Methodist Episcopal Church congregations- the senior Carey as a bishop, and the junior Carey as a pastor and an attorney.

Bishop Carey associated himself mainly with Chicago mayor William Hale Thompson, a Republican, whom he presented to black voters as an ally. When the mayor appointed Carey to the city's civil service commission, Carey helped in the hiring and promotion of local blacks. But alleged impropriety for selling jobs marred the bishop's tenure. The junior Carey, also a Republican and an alderman, became head of the panel on anti-discrimination in employment for the Eisenhower administration. He aided innumerable black federal employees. Although an influential benefactor of CORE and SCLC, Carey associated with notorious FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and compromised support for Martin Luther King, Jr. Both Careys believed politics offered clergy the best opportunities to empower the black population. Their imperfect alliances and mixed results, however, proved the complexity of combining the realms of spirituality and politics.

Dennis C. Dickerson
During the turbulent 1960s, civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. devised a new and effective strategy to achieve equality for African Americans. Young blended interracial mediation with direct protest, demonstrating that these methods pursued together were the best tactics for achieving social, economic, and political change. Militant Mediator is a powerful reassessment of this key and controversial figure in the civil rights movement. It is the first biography to explore in depth the influence Young's father, a civil rights leader in Kentucky, had on his son. Dickerson traces Young's swift rise to national prominence as a leader who could bridge the concerns of deprived blacks and powerful whites and mobilize the resources of the white America to battle the poverty and discrimination at the core of racial inequality. Alone among his civil rights colleagues—Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, John Lewis, and James Forman—Young built support from black and white constituencies. As a National Urban League official in the Midwest and as a dean of the School of Social Work at Atlanta University during the 1940s and 1950s, Young developed a strategy of mediation and put it to work on a national level upon becoming the executive director of the League in 1961. Though he worked with powerful whites, Young also drew support from middle-and working-class blacks from religious, fraternal, civil rights, and educational organizations. As he navigated this middle ground, though, Young came under fire from both black nationalists and white conservatives.
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Dennis C. Dickerson
During the turbulent 1960s, civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. devised a new and effective strategy to achieve equality for African Americans. Young blended interracial mediation with direct protest, demonstrating that these methods pursued together were the best tactics for achieving social, economic, and political change. Militant Mediator is a powerful reassessment of this key and controversial figure in the civil rights movement. It is the first biography to explore in depth the influence Young's father, a civil rights leader in Kentucky, had on his son. Dickerson traces Young's swift rise to national prominence as a leader who could bridge the concerns of deprived blacks and powerful whites and mobilize the resources of the white America to battle the poverty and discrimination at the core of racial inequality. Alone among his civil rights colleagues -- Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, John Lewis, and James Forman -- Young built support from black and white constituencies. As a National Urban League official in the Midwest and as a dean of the School of Social Work at Atlanta University during the 1940s and 1950s, Young developed a strategy of mediation and put it to work on a national level upon becoming the executive director of the League in 1961. Though he worked with powerful whites, Young also drew support from middle-and working-class blacks from religious, fraternal, civil rights, and educational organizations. As he navigated this middle ground, though, Young came under fire from both black nationalists and white conservatives.
Dennis C. Dickerson
During the turbulent 1960s, civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. devised a new and effective strategy to achieve equality for African Americans. Young blended interracial mediation with direct protest, demonstrating that these methods pursued together were the best tactics for achieving social, economic, and political change. Militant Mediator is a powerful reassessment of this key and controversial figure in the civil rights movement. It is the first biography to explore in depth the influence Young's father, a civil rights leader in Kentucky, had on his son. Dickerson traces Young's swift rise to national prominence as a leader who could bridge the concerns of deprived blacks and powerful whites and mobilize the resources of the white America to battle the poverty and discrimination at the core of racial inequality. Alone among his civil rights colleagues—Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, John Lewis, and James Forman—Young built support from black and white constituencies. As a National Urban League official in the Midwest and as a dean of the School of Social Work at Atlanta University during the 1940s and 1950s, Young developed a strategy of mediation and put it to work on a national level upon becoming the executive director of the League in 1961. Though he worked with powerful whites, Young also drew support from middle-and working-class blacks from religious, fraternal, civil rights, and educational organizations. As he navigated this middle ground, though, Young came under fire from both black nationalists and white conservatives.
Dennis C. Dickerson
During most of the twentieth century, Archibald J. Carey, Sr. (1868-1931) and Archibald J. Carey, Jr. (1908-1981), father and son, exemplified a blend of ministry and politics that many African American religious leaders pursued. Their sacred and secular concerns merged in efforts to improve the spiritual and material well-being of their congregations. But as political alliances became necessary, both wrestled with moral consequences and varied outcomes. Both were ministers to Chicago's largest African Methodist Episcopal Church congregations- the senior Carey as a bishop, and the junior Carey as a pastor and an attorney.

Bishop Carey associated himself mainly with Chicago mayor William Hale Thompson, a Republican, whom he presented to black voters as an ally. When the mayor appointed Carey to the city's civil service commission, Carey helped in the hiring and promotion of local blacks. But alleged impropriety for selling jobs marred the bishop's tenure. The junior Carey, also a Republican and an alderman, became head of the panel on anti-discrimination in employment for the Eisenhower administration. He aided innumerable black federal employees. Although an influential benefactor of CORE and SCLC, Carey associated with notorious FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and compromised support for Martin Luther King, Jr. Both Careys believed politics offered clergy the best opportunities to empower the black population. Their imperfect alliances and mixed results, however, proved the complexity of combining the realms of spirituality and politics.

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