The Harder We Run: Black Workers since the Civil War

The Harder We Run: Black Workers since the Civil War

The Harder We Run: Black Workers since the Civil War

The Harder We Run: Black Workers since the Civil War

Synopsis

Written clearly and passionately, employing both anecdotes and statistics, this comprehensive narrative traces the position of blacks in the American economy from the Civil War to the present.

Excerpt

Writing The Harder We Run was more than an intellectual enterprise for me, for not only did I learn more about the efforts black men and women have made to earn decent wages and to support their families in the United States, but I came to appreciate far more fully the sacrifices others made so that I could have the opportunity to tell their stories. Indeed, the struggles and failures, as well as the few successes, took on a different meaning as I looked at them anew. The experience of writing the book rekindled in me feelings I had known as a child. I remembered that my father, who knew as much about fixing locomotives as anyone in town, always remained a machinist's helper while younger whites, who learned their work from him, became machinists. Little did I know back then in Georgia that my feeling of frustration over that situation was one that young black boys-- and even more, their fathers--shared all over the country, and that it was a condition that had existed for most black people for the whole period of their existence as free men and women in the United States. My father's comment to me years ago that black people were already so poor in the 1920s that in the 1930s they did not even know that the Great Depression bad come, took on a new meaning as well as I tried to organize and retell the story of black workers since the Civil War.

I have written this book with as little passion as possible, but with a clear appreciation of the pathos that has been so much a part of the history of black people in America. I have taken pains . . .

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