Black Folk: The Roots of the Black Working Class

Product Details
$30.00  $27.90
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
6.2 X 8.9 X 1.4 inches | 1.4 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author
Blair LM Kelley is Joel R. Williamson Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies and the director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is the author of Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson.
Brings a dazzling blend of compassion, storytelling, and deep research to a subject that is vital to anyone aiming to understand the future direction of American politics and the nation itself.--Martha S. Jones, author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All
Black Folk is at once a love song, a blues, and an epic account of the Black working class in the United States. In lyrical prose, Blair LM Kelley draws on her own family history to tell the story of how Black laborers built, fed, repaired, served, cleaned, cared for, enriched, and worked to democratize this country. By tracing the roots of the Black working class, Kelley reveals the history of the whole nation. The toils of 'Black folk' made the soul of America.--Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
Black Folk is a revelation, indeed one of the most important works of history to come across my desk in a long time. . . . Far from a small nameless and faceless group, the Black working class has been and continues to be the very heart of dignified working America and the animating force behind so much of our unique American culture.--Michael Eric Dyson
Award-winning historian Kelley, director of the Center for the Study of the American South and author of Right To Ride, provides a powerful counter to the assumption that the term working class refers only to Whites. Rather, she argues convincingly, Black workers have been the nation's 'most active, most engaged, most informed, and most impassioned working class.' . . . A well-researched, engaging, corrective American history.-- "Kirkus Reviews"
Kelley's indictment of the systemic barriers that have affected countless Black families in work, housing, and more begins with her own family history of enslaved ancestors . . . [Black Folk] explores the topic of the Black working class in America by following a clear chronology, adding a necessary subtopic to the field of contemporary labor studies.--A.E. Siraki, Booklist, starred review
[A] poignant and celebratory chronicle of Black labor movements in America. Alongside more well-known stories, such as the unionization of Pullman porters, Kelley also sheds new light on Black women's contributions to labor struggles . . . Full of persuasive insights into Black working-class life and the legacy of communal care spearheaded by Black women, this is a powerful reimagining of the history of labor in the U.S.-- "Publishers Weekly"
'Black Folk' . . . [is] a groundbreaking account of the Black working class in the generations that have come after Juneteenth . . . Juneteenth recognizes and honors a struggle that continues. Like Labor Day, it recognizes the past successes and undermining of workers as well as the unfinished work left to secure equity for them. Amid increasing efforts to criminalize and erase Black history, what better day to shine a spotlight on what Black labor has endured, and the overdue compensation their descendants are owed?"--Jamil Smith "Los Angeles Times"
Remember how totally dry your high school history books were? Yeah, this is nothing like those. 'Black Folk' lets readers get to actually know people who lived a century ago or more. It's like being carefully handed a living, breathing story to hold.-- "Times Weekly"
[O]ne of the greatest books I have read about labor in America. The fascinating, revealing, at times heartbreaking--yet inspiring--319-page volume chronicles the role of the Black working class who contributed mightily to this country's wealth and development as a global superpower.--Thomasi McDonald "INDY Week"
In Black Folk, Blair LM Kelley ties the exodus of another six million or so to a moving memoir of Black family migration, as well as to the wider sweep of time from slavery to the present. . . . Black Folk also has a bone to pick. When we think of 'the American working class, ' we think of whites, she notes. But much of that class is Black, and, compared with white laborers, a higher proportion of all Black people are part of it. . . . The 2024 election cycle has barely begun, and Joe Biden and Donald Trump have already made their way to Detroit to court working-class voters. Some foresee a replay of the North-South civil war, with Donald Trump playing to the Southernization of the North and Joe Biden to the Northernization of the South. Race is again central, and we're having a hard time talking about it. The very human stories in [this book] could be just the thing to break the ice.--Arlie Russell Hochschild "New York Times Book Review"