Nell Irvin Painter – Solidarity

The attempted rapprochement was not without significance, for white laborers resented Black workers taking jobs for less than whites in the 1880’s, and while whites generally hesitated to bar Black workers from the new labor organizations on naked color grounds, they readily used wage differential and Black scabbing to justify exclusionary policies. The whole question of interracial labor problems would prove a persistent one, but in August 1881, the United Color Links prepared to meet white labor at least halfway. The Links promised not to undercut white labor or pursue its aims at the expense of organized white workers or farmers, solemnly declaring its intention to avoid “any strife or conflict among the people in the way of regulating prices of work” and to promote “labor at all regularly arranged prices which govern the masses.”4 However, these concessions to the organized white class were incidental to the Links’ central preoccupation.

The main goal of the United Color Links was to unite all colored people in order to improve the lot of the race. Assuming that amelioration could be accomplished only through race unity, the Links’ concept of race unity bore a distinctive, transcendent character.

  • P.119, Exodusters – Nell Irvin Painter, ISBN 0-393-00951-3

Exodusters

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