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“The Hidden History of Black Labor in Richmond”
Did you know that in 1886 a bi-racial labor movement organized its own political party and swept the city elections, seeking to build a new city hall out of local materials, on the eight hour day, paying union scale wages, and offering African American workers access to skilled jobs? Later that year they hosted the national convention of the Knights of Labor, bringing more than 1,000 delegates from all over the country to the city. While in Richmond, some of these delegates joined with local activists to challenge the ground rules of Jim Crow, from hotels to the theater. How was this possible, barely two decades after Richmond had served as the capital of the Confederacy? Why did it fall apart? What legacy did this history leave for the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century? And what legacy does it leave for us in the 21st century?
Come learn from of this “forgotten” history and explore these questions with Peter Rachleff, Professor of History at Macelester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Black History Museum
00 E. Clay St (Jackson Ward)
(804) 780-90935:00pm – 7:30pm
Peter Rachleff is a Professor of History at Macalester College, where he has taught since 1982. He is specialist in U.S. labor history, with particular interests in the roles played by immigration and race in the making and re-making of the U.S. working class.
At Macalester, Peter serves as faculty coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, which supports students of color on a path to graduate school.
Peter has been national president of the Working Class Studies Association and a member of the national executive board of the Labor and Working Class History Association. For the past thirteen years, he has helped to organize the annual “Untold Stories” program, bringing labor history to the Saint Paul community through the public libraries.