During the 1910s and 1920s, the Philadelphia waterfront was home to the most durable interracial, multiethnic union seen in the United States prior to the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) era. For much of its time, Local 8's majority was African American and included immigrants from Eastern Europe as well as many Irish Americans. In this important study, Peter Cole examines how Local 8, affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), accomplished what no other did at the time. He also shows how race was central not only to the rise but also to the decline of Local 8, as increasing racial tensions were manipulated by employers and federal agents bent on the union's destruction.
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