twitter book price comparison
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Race against Liberalism Black Workers and the UAW in Detroit by David M. Lewis-Colman

Race against Liberalism Black Workers and the UAW in Detroit

Part of the Working Class in American History Series


Race against Liberalism Black Workers and the UAW in Detroit by David M. Lewis-Colman

Race against Liberalism: Black Workers and the UAW in Detroit examines how black workers' activism in Detroit shaped the racial politics of the labor movement and the white working class. Tracing substantive, longstanding disagreements between liberals and black workers who embraced autonomous race-based action, David M. Lewis-Colman shows how black autoworkers placed themselves at the center of Detroit's working-class politics and sought to forge a kind of working-class unity that accommodated their interests as African Americans. This chronicle of the black labor movement in Detroit begins with the independent caucuses in the 1940s and the Trade Union Leadership Council in the 1950s, in which black workers' workplace activism crossed over into civic unionism, challenging the racial structure of the city's neighborhoods, leisure spaces, politics, and schools. By the mid-1960s, a full-blown black power movement had emerged in Detroit, and in 1968 black workers organized nationalist Revolutionary Union Movements inside the auto plants, advocating a complete break from the labor establishment. By the 1970s, the tradition of independent race-based activism among Detroit's autoworkers continued to shape the politics of the city as Coleman Young became the city's first black mayor in 1973.


Much more than a simple institutional history of the UAW and its black members, this work deftly moves beyond this theme to other crucial issues connected to the workplace, the Detroit community, the Cold War against labor, and to the civil rights and Black Nationalist movements. --Stephen Meyer, author of Stalin over Wisconsin : The Making and Unmaking of Militant Unionism, 1900-1950 Race against Liberalism is a well-written narrative that provides readers with a greater sense of the complexities of racial politics within the labor movement in postwar Detroit. Lewis-Colman's book is a welcome addition to the literature on the UAW, but it also has broader significance for the study of Detroit, race, and race relations generally within the twentieth-century United States. --Michigan Historical Review Lewis-Colman's book sheds light on just how entrenched racism was in American society and suggests that any glimmer of interracial liberalism may have been fool's gold. --The Journal of American History

About the Author

David M. Lewis-Colman is an assistant professor of African American history at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

23rd May 2008


David M. Lewis-Colman

More books by David M. Lewis-Colman
Author 'Like for Like'


University of Illinois Press


176 pages


Sociology: work & labour
Physical anthropology



Lovereading is a wonderful way to expand my literary horizons, discover inspiring authors & get the chance to read new novels first. #loveit

Zarina de Ruiter

At Lovereading there are fabulous books available in every genre, with great reviews to help you pick the right book for you.

Teresa O'Halloran

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

For me, to read is to learn, to reflect, to escape, to think, to contemplate and my time for space and calm.

Sally Ellsmore

Love books. Love reading. Love reading books. And, here's the trick. Here's a website which caters for people like me.

Ian Harvey-brown

Insightful reader reviews and unbiased recommendations. I don't know how I chose books before Lovereading! An essential for all book lovers.

Sarah Harper

I love Lovereading because I get to read great books and then get to tell everybody how good they are.

Sally Doel

It gives a chance to read about new titles, invites comments from all kinds of readers and is run by such a nice bunch of book lovers.

Joy Bosworth