Labor Center

Black Workers

Labor Center Reports

Monthly Black Worker Report

Black Worker Overview

Black Worker Resources

C. L. Dellums African American Union Leadership School

Black Workers Resources

African American Labor History Guides
Recommended Articles and Books
Films and Videos
Online Databases

 African American Labor History Guides:

Cornell University African American Workers Research Archive
This online guide includes links and descriptions of Cornell’s extensive archival materials on African American workers.

A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum
A Chicago-based museum documenting the history of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African American labor union to win a collective bargaining contract. Website includes online exhibit and background history.

African American Working Class History
An online resource guide compiled by the Hartford Web company.

University of Washington African American History Archive
A general resource guide on African American history, including sections on Civil War & Slavery, Civil Rights, and Biographies.

Center for Working Class Studies
Based in Youngstown University in Youngstown Ohio, the CWCC includes research portals and articles about working class life and culture in the US, including materials on African Americans in the Youngstown Steel Industry and other local industries.

 Recommended Articles and Books:

Detroit, I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution
By Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin. 1998. South End Press.

Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America, 1925-1945
By Beth Tompkins Bates. 2001. University of North Carolina Press

When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor
By William Julius Wilson. 1997. University of Chicago Press

"I Am a Man"
By Gerald L. Posner, 1998. Chapter 1, Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., tells the story of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers' strike. chap The Posner File.htm

Maida Springer: Pan-Africanist and International Labor Leader
By Yevette Richards. 2000. University of Pittsburgh Press

 Films and Videos:

California News Real Portal
This online portal includes an exhaustive list of narrative and documentary films covering African American civil rights and labor struggles – including lengthy descriptions of many of the titles listed below.

Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle
A 1983 film chronicling the organizing of the first black trade union - the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

Struggles in Steel
This 1996 film documents the history of discrimination against black workers, focusing the struggle of African American steel workers to win equality on the job.

A Philip Randolph – For Jobs and Freedom
A moving feature documentary portrait of the unsung Civil Rights hero and labor leader, including a survey of African American labor history.

At the River I Stand
A 58-minute documentary covering the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oh Freedom After While
A documentary telling the story of the 1939 Missouri sharecroppers strike and the legacy of racism in agricultural industry.

 Online Databases:

U.S. Census Bureau: Blacks or African Americans Minority Links for Media
Statistics on the economic and social status of African Americans

US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics


The website of the U.S. umbrella union federation includes background resources on civil rights and opportunities to take action on key current legislative and political issues.

A. Philip Randolph Institute
A Washington D.C. based national African American trade union association affiliated with AFL-CIO with 150 chapters in 36 U.S. states. Founded to serve as a bridge between labor and the black community, APRI members are involved in political and community education, lobbying, legislative action and labor support activities. Website includes descriptions of current programs.

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
A Washington D.C. based national coalition dedicating to building the trade union movement among African Americans. Includes members from 77 international and national unions with 42 regional chapters. Website includes organizations history and program descriptions.

Black Radical Congress
A New York based-national organization launched to promote dialogue among African American activists and scholars about issues critical to the Black community. Sponsors public forums and produces policy papers and other publications. Website includes program description and publications.

Center for Third World Organizing
An Oakland-based racial justice organizing dedicated to building a social justice movement led by people of color. Website includes lots of background information and online access to the organization’s magazine Colorlines.

Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Contact: Steven Pitts
Phone: (510) 643-6815

Center for Labor Research and Education
2521 Channing Way # 5555
Berkeley, CA 94720-5555
TEL (510) 642-0323    FAX (510) 642-6432

A public service and outreach program of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment