“Speak out now when others grow silent”: The Messenger, the IWW and debates over new negro radicalism - George Robertson


Mar 29 2011 22:28

Thanks. This is great.

Do you know anywhere to find a copy of October 1919 The Messenger that the quotes at the beginning are taken from. Regardless, this is fantastic.

Juan Conatz
Mar 29 2011 22:40

Nah, I couldn't tell you where to find copies of them. Maybe you could email the author if you could track down his info?

Other than the actual piece, this is all I have on this

The paper on The Messenger and the IWW is available from the website of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies of the University of Washington. It is a prize-winning paper in Labor Studies -- the best undergraduate paper of 2007-2008, written by History Major George Robertson.
Mar 30 2011 15:10

The Messenger is one of the few newspapers that I've never found collected in any archive (if anyone knows where to find them, please send me a PM). But it left lots of traces in West Oakland because, being the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad (upon completion in 1869), lots of African American railroad porters eventually settled there -- and used their mobility working on the trains to distribute black papers across the country. It became the West Coast organizing center for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters when it was founded in 1925 by A. Philip Randolph; the main organizer in Oakland was C.L. Dellums (uncle to recent Oakland mayor Ron Dellums). In a published research report of Sonoma State University, entitled Sights and Sounds: Essays in Celebration of West Oakland, I found the following quote:

A. Philip Randolph wrote:
"...in the South, Negroes are still sweated 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 hours a day. The lumberjacks in the West (white) are no less mercilessly exploited. It is these indescribable conditions that gave birth to the Industrial Workers of the World. Peonage pens and industrial hells of the South will eventually force Negro workers, too, into industrial unions...And ere long, black and white workers will stop fighting each other over race prejudice and combine against their common enemy--the white capitalist." In "Organized Labor and Negro Politics," The Messenger, March 1920, p.6

The Brotherhood also adopted many Wobbly songs, even using "Hold the Fort" as its anthem.

gram negative
Mar 30 2011 03:58

Thanks for this.