Writing the history of Local 1199 (Upheaval in the Quiet Zone) was a humbling experience. We were (and remain) sympathetic to the political ends of the union and impressed by the extraordinary achievement of leaders and members alike in carving out a significant, interracial common ground in what had been a no man’s land for organized labor.
At the same time, we watched in horror when union leaders tore themselves apart over issues generally troubling the larger left-liberal community, but here given a special twist of personality, race, and politics. As authors, we sought to maintain a focus on the play of individual wills while also exploring the contexts which limited those wills. Reflexively iden...
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