Date

5-4-2020

Description

This paper argues that organized labor's racially discriminatory practices of the early 1900s effectively served to disenfranchise African Americans and immigrants from the American political process. Twentieth-century notions of race and ethnicity limited broad sympathy amongst minorities and immigrants, further dividing the labor movement. Because unions provide labor leaders a rank-and-file membership to mobilize in support of candidates, politicians are receptive to their preferences. Labor unions' exclusion of minorities therefore robbed them of a voice in government. Racism abounded in the United States, not just within the labor movement. However, such discrimination served to withhold both economic and political privileges to those barred from membership. This concept is demonstrated by the successes of Asa Philip Randolph and David Dubinsky, both presidents of labor unions with national prominence and leaders within the movement at large, to "enter the beltway," exerting pressure and influence on the Franklin Roosevelt administration.

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May 4th, 12:00 AM

From Outside the Beltway: Minorities in the early-20th Century Labor Movement

This paper argues that organized labor's racially discriminatory practices of the early 1900s effectively served to disenfranchise African Americans and immigrants from the American political process. Twentieth-century notions of race and ethnicity limited broad sympathy amongst minorities and immigrants, further dividing the labor movement. Because unions provide labor leaders a rank-and-file membership to mobilize in support of candidates, politicians are receptive to their preferences. Labor unions' exclusion of minorities therefore robbed them of a voice in government. Racism abounded in the United States, not just within the labor movement. However, such discrimination served to withhold both economic and political privileges to those barred from membership. This concept is demonstrated by the successes of Asa Philip Randolph and David Dubinsky, both presidents of labor unions with national prominence and leaders within the movement at large, to "enter the beltway," exerting pressure and influence on the Franklin Roosevelt administration.