Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America (Hardcover)

Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America By Joe William Trotter, Jr. Cover Image
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"An eloquent and essential correction to contemporary discussions of the American working class."—The Nation

From the ongoing issues of poverty, health, housing and employment to the recent upsurge of lethal police-community relations, the black working class stands at the center of perceptions of social and racial conflict today. Journalists and public policy analysts often discuss the black poor as “consumers” rather than “producers,” as “takers” rather than “givers,” and as “liabilities” instead of “assets.”
In his engrossing new history, Workers on Arrival, Joe William Trotter, Jr. refutes these perceptions by charting the black working class’s vast contributions to the making of America. Covering the last four hundred years since Africans were first brought to Virginia in 1619, Trotter traces black workers’ complicated journey from the transatlantic slave trade through the American Century to the demise of the industrial order in the 21st century. At the center of this compelling, fast-paced narrative are the actual experiences of these African American men and women. A dynamic and vital history of remarkable contributions despite repeated setbacks, Workers on Arrival expands our understanding of America’s economic and industrial growth, its cities, ideas, and institutions, and the real challenges confronting black urban communities today.

About the Author

Joe William Trotter, Jr., is Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice and Founder and Director of the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of Black Milwaukee and Coal, Class, and Color and past President of the Labor and Working Class History Association.

Praise For…

“Mr. Trotter has synthesized an eye-popping array of scholarship into a slim volume, one that should be read by . . . the general public, and especially by those whose bad-Twitter-argument-of-the-day calendar is turned to: ‘African-Americans have been superfluously aided by undue economic initiatives.’”
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“This book shows the fruitful results of decades of scholarship in the field. This vital contribution is particularly timely after a period in which ‘the working class’ has somehow become synonymous with white Americans in the middle of the country. In fact, African Americans have been central to that history, including now in a new global capitalist economy. With consummate skill and compression of prose, the book surveys the ‘lives and labor of black workers’ . . . A splendidly rigorous and authoritative text from an accomplished senior scholar.”

"A beautifully illustrated book. . . . Professor Trotter gives us a highly readable and accessible history that will be a classic in the field.”

— Book Riot

“An eloquent and essential correction to contemporary discussions of the American working class. . . . Trotter’s achievement is to synthesize [a] rich body of historical scholarship into a single volume written with an eye to a general audience.”

— The Nation

"Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America is the type of book that shapes an entire field of knowledge. It is the type of book that I wish every senior scholar would write: a book that only becomes possible to produce after a significant amount of time and effort in careful study, paying attention to the broad movements in the field and the thousands of nuances that it produces."
— Journal of Working-Class Studies

"In an important new book entitled Workers on Arrival, historian Joe William Trotter Jr charts the dynamic history of black workers in the United States, revealing how the labor of African Americans helped build the nation — and the world. His research highlights the unique challenges black workers have faced in the United States as well as their remarkable historical contributions."

— Jacobin

"Workers on Arrival provides a fresh and updated survey of black working-class history in America."
— Journal of African American History

Product Details
ISBN: 9780520299450
ISBN-10: 0520299450
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: January 8th, 2019
Pages: 328
Language: English