"How did it come to pass that a once formidable, interracial union with a substantial black membership came to have such a negligible influence among Alabama’s working people during the tumultuous civil rights era? Woodrum suggests that the UMW ‘occupied a key space in the battle to determine race relations in the Birmingham district,’ but that there was a high price to be paid for its calculated ambivalence on the question of racial equality. For anyone wanting to understand why so many Southern white workers fell under the sway of demagogues like George Wallace, this impressive study is as good a place to start as any."
—Brian Kelly, author of Race, Class and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-1921
"[T]horough, authoritative and convincing."
"[Woodrum] adeptly analyzes the intersections of race, class, labor policy, technological change, and globalization in what has historically been not only one of the most dangerous industries in the United States, but also one of the most studied. . . . By placing race at the center of his analysis, however, Woodrum adds a new twist to the story of job loss, community abandonment, and deindustrialization. . . . Woodrum presents a complex picture of race, class, and working-class identity, wherein interracial solidarity among the rank and file and the union's commitment to a progressive social agenda ebbed and flowed. . . . His study is therefore not only an important read for those seeking a better understanding of race and industrial change in the past, but also for workers, unions and community activists seeking a way forward in the modern era of global production and trade."
"A major new book for labor historians and for scholars of the 'new southern history,' Everybody Was Black Down There is a revealing examination of coal mining in Alabama from the New Deal to the present. . . . An eloquent account of black agency and activism in the southern labor movement . . . This nuanced book updates the history of labor in the Alabama coalfields."
—Journal of American History
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