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Robin D.G. Kelley: Amazon union drive carries on Alabama’s Black radical legacy

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This eleventh episode of Black Work Talk was a joint effort with Dissent Magazine’s podcast, Belabored.  Belabored’s co-hosts, Michelle Chen and Sarah Jaffe, and Black Work Talk’s host, Steven Pitts were joined by historian Robin D.G. Kelley.  Robin’s book, Hammer and Hoe, details the organizing work in the Birmingham metropolitan area during the 1930s where key Black workers were Communist and worked with the Communist Party to improve the living conditions in Jim Crow Alabama.  Because of Robin’s knowledge of the region’s history, he was an excellent guest to have on the show given the worker organizing at the Amazon warehouse outside of Birmingham. Topics discussed included:

  • the current organizing at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, AL
  • the relationship between Blacks and the Communist Party in the 1930s
  • the nature of racial capitalism
  • strategies to build stronger ties between the Black community and the labor movement.

Below is a link to an article by Robin Kelley summarizing key elements of his book, Hammer and How:

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/08/alabama-hammer-and-hoe-robin-kelley-communist-party


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Labor Organizing
Race and Class

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