By Kenneth D. Durr
During this nuanced examine white working-class lifestyles and politics in twentieth-century the USA, Kenneth Durr takes readers into the neighborhoods, places of work, and group associations of blue-collar Baltimore within the many years after international struggle II. tough notions that the "white backlash" of the Sixties and Seventies was once pushed via expanding race resentment, Durr information the increase of a working-class populism formed by way of distrust of the skill and ends of postwar liberalism within the face of city decline. Exploring the consequences of desegregation, deindustrialization, recession, and the increase of city crime, Durr exhibits how valid fiscal, social, and political grievances confident white working-class Baltimoreans that they have been threatened extra by means of the activities of liberal policymakers than by means of the incursions of city blacks. whereas acknowledging the parochialism and racial exclusivity of white working-class lifestyles, Durr adopts an empathetic view of employees and their associations. at the back of the Backlash melds ethnic, hard work, and political historical past to color a wealthy portrait of city life--and the sweeping social and fiscal alterations that reshaped America's towns and politics within the overdue 20th century.
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Extra info for Behind the Backlash: White Working-Class Politics in Baltimore, 1940-1980
36 O’Brien was out-organized, and his slate was roundly defeated. Nevertheless, some of his followers, encouraged by Cronin, formed a ‘‘Pleasure Club,’’ began disrupting union meetings, and attempted to oust the elected oﬃcers. When the local, backed by the International, expelled the anticommunist ‘‘troublemakers,’’ the opposition called a work stoppage. 38 It did not help that the caliber of the Pleasure Club leaders was questionable at best. 39 Most important, the anticommunists at Fairﬁeld could not draw on the same reserve of skilled, veteran workers that had helped build Locals 31 and 33.
161 When it came to race, the pbea represented the prevailing attitudes of many white Western Electric workers. 165 It is telling that the strike at Western Electric was touched oﬀ by women. 167 Most of this increase came as women replaced draftees or transients, and although some were Baltimore natives, plenty of wartime working women were migrants themselves. Many of these women, like their male counterparts, agreed with the assessment of ‘‘Beloved Baltimore’’ and left town at the war’s end. 168 What Was Left Undone By 1945 Baltimore, like its counterparts in the industrial North, was home to a strong industrial union movement, a growing civil rights community, and a political system increasingly sensitive to the power of ethnic and black working-class voters.
Mobilizing Workers and Votes Before World War II about 35,000 union members lived in Baltimore, most of them aﬃliated with the afl. 84 The city and state cio fought hard for these gains, but ultimately the war made the diﬀerence. The most diﬃcult of the cio’s unionizing drives was at Sparrows Point. Bethlehem was the cornerstone of ‘‘Little Steel’’ and notoriously anti-union. 88 By 1940 the cio was trying mightily to get into Bethlehem Steel and Glenn Martin because they were huge plants dependent on defense contracts—and federal law mandated that government contractors must bargain in good faith with unions.