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Strong in the Struggle: My Life as a Black Labor Activist (Voices & Visions) Hardcover – January 16, 2001
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Indispensable for anyone trying to understand the realities of life in the United States. This is a very moving account of a militant African-American man in the 20th century. It illuminates the defeats and victories of the labor movement, North and South, with clear honesty. (Herbert Aptheker, author of A Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States)
Lee Brown's compelling story urges us to imagine a radically different history of the twentieth century United States, a history forged by a persistent and courageous defense of workers' rights and by an indefatigable advocacy of racial equality. In his powerful and unpretentious way, Brown shows us a life whose meaning resides in an unrelenting faith in the ability of working people to fight for a better world. As veteran, witness, and chronicler, he addresses new generations of activists―those who speak out today against global capitalism, racism, patriarchy, and homophobia―and offer them a firm place on his shoulders. (Angela Y. Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz; author of Blues Legend and Black Feminism)
Fully represents the history of African American workers and activists in the twentieth century, the transformation of our presence from a rural to an urban one, and the impact the industrial revolution, the trade union movement, World War II, and the Civil Rights Movement have had on the way we live and we work. This book is especially important because we have so few worker biographies, so few life stories of 'the people' that Lee Brown has always been ready to represent. It is important to see history from this prism, to view our nation's evolution through the life of a man whose voice, strong and authentic, is amplified through this powerful, absorbing and detail-rich autobiography. (Julianne Malveaux, from the Foreword)
A stirring account. (Dispatcher)
About the Author
Lee Brown is presently retired and living in San Francisco, where he continues to be active in struggles for housing, jobs, health care, and senior citizens' issues.
Robert L. Allen, a sociologist and historian, teaches African American and ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is senior editor of The Black Scholar journal, and author of several books on the African American experience.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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He strongly felt that a fairer society required three things: increased trade unionism, racial integration, and Communism. Of course, back then that got him no end of trouble with racists and Red-baiters of all stripes. (He did end up in prison for three years for violating the Taft-Hartley act, which prohibited members of the Communist party from involvement with labor unions). However, later he expressed frustration because of racism and apathy in the union ranks, as well as a Communist party that had become more "intellectual" and theoretical than "involved with the grass roots".
Co-author Robert L. Allen documents the famous trial in which Mr. Brown refuses to answer the prosecutors' questions.
Recommended for anyone interested in labor or African-American history.