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Managing InequalityNorthern Racial Liberalism in Interwar Detroit$
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Karen R. Miller

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479880096

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479880096.001.0001

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Northern Racial Liberalism and Detroit’s Labor Movement

Northern Racial Liberalism and Detroit’s Labor Movement

(p.205) 6 Northern Racial Liberalism and Detroit’s Labor Movement
Managing Inequality

Karen R. Miller

NYU Press

This chapter looks at how race and black activism shaped debates about labor and interracial unionism. By the end of the 1930s, black workers and residents had sustained a reasonable expectation that white leaders interested in their support would use language about racial equality when they addressed a black audience. But they were looking for something more: white allies committed to the fight for racial justice who used clearly and consistently inclusive practices in their own work. African Americans had used a range of strategies to address employment discrimination and develop an alternate vision of racial justice in the workplace. Yet interracial unionism, like northern racial liberalism, was a conflicted and inconsistent promise for racial justice, coming from leaders of the predominantly white Left and the white union movement.

Keywords:   black activism, labor movements, interracial unionism, racial equality, racial justice, employment discrimination, white Left, white union movement

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