Monday, May 2, 2011

Five best books about labor

Arch Puddington, the director of research at Freedom House, is the author of Lane Kirkland: Champion of American Labor.

For the Wall Street Journal he named a five best list of books about labor, including:
A. Philip Randolph
by Jervis Anderson (1973)

Once called the "most dangerous Negro in America" by a congressman, A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979) evolved from socialist radical to respected labor leader and civil-rights statesman. His most noteworthy achievement: the decade-long drive to organize the porters for Pullman railroad sleeping cars. Randolph had to overcome a powerful corporation, politicians, communists who distrusted his democratic instincts and even some of the country's black leadership. Biographer Jervis Anderson presents an absorbing portrait of the era and of Randolph's implacable organizing work, beginning in the late 1920s, when porters would pass the hat Linkfor funds to get him to his next city. Finally, in 1937, the Pullman company signed a contract with the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Randolph's life is a study in moral clarity: He believed in integration, nonviolence, working-class values and the proposition that "the first condition to being worthy of help from others is for an individual, race, or nation to do something for itself."
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue