Carnegie Mellon University

Book Symposiym: Joe W. Trotter, Jr.

Book Symposiym: Joe W. Trotter, Jr.

Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America

Friday, November 15th

4:00–4:30 Reception, 4:30–6:00 Symposium
Danforth Conference Room, CUC

The black working class currently stands at the center of perceptions of social and racial conflict due to the ongoing challenges of poverty, poor health, inadequate housing, and unemployment, plus the upsurge of lethal police-community relations. Public policy analysts and journalists often mistakenly use these markers to label the black poor as “takers” rather than “givers.”
In this engrossing new history, Joe William Trotter, Jr., definitively refutes this assertion by charting the black working class’s vast contributions to the making of America. Covering the 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 postindustrial order. Centering this compelling narrative on the actual labor experiences of African American men and women, Workers on Arrival is a dynamic and vital history of remarkable contributions despite repeated setbacks. It expands our understanding of America’s economic and industrial growth and the challenges black urban communities confront today.

Author and discussants:Author and discussants:

  • Joe William Trotter, Jr. Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice, Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University
  • William P. Jones Professor of History, University of Minnesota, Vice President of the Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA)
  • Jacqueline Jones Professor and Chair, History Department at the University of Texas at Austin, Ellen C. Temple Chair in Women’s History and Mastin Gentry White Professor of Southern History