Good Books about Baltimore's Labor History?
April 13, 2017 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Hey folks, so I have a simple request--I'm looking for decent books/articles/resources for learning more about the labor movement in Baltimore, MD. I moved here last year from Minneapolis, and while there's a lot of good books about labor in Minnesota, I haven't really seen anything about the history of the labor movement in Baltimore or Maryland. I'm hoping some folks might be able to help me learn more.
posted by Subcommandante Cheese to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure how far back you want to go, but there's a book by Bill Barry, The 1877 Railroad Strike in Baltimore, reviewed here that is probably a good place to start.

You might also check out the bibliography on this dissertation on gender, race and public sector work in Baltimore.
posted by cushie at 3:14 PM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Baltimore Book is a collection of essays, most of which are about labor history. As I recall, the quality varies a bit, but it provides a nice overview of some notable events, industries, and organizations, so it's probably the place to start. A New Deal For All?: Race and Class Struggles in Depression-Era Baltimore is about the conflicts and common causes between white labor organizers and black civil rights organizers in the 1930s. Making the Amalgamated: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Baltimore Clothing Industry, 1899-1939 covers the history of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers union. If you want to go very far back, Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore is great.

To go afield of your question, if you're just digging into Baltimore history, you really ought to read Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City. It covers the history of housing in 20th century Baltimore and does a lot to explain how the city ended up the way it is now. And on a far lighter note than the rest of these, Baltimore: A Not Too Serious History is the most colorful history book I've ever read and so delightful that I feel the need to plug it whenever I can. It gives a wonderfully anecdotal perspective that really brings the city to life.
posted by vathek at 4:24 PM on April 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

The Baltimore Museum of Industry archives would be a good resource.
posted by goggie at 7:55 PM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding Seth Rockman's Scraping By as great for this topic.

Slightly off topic, but relevant is Orser's Blockbusting in Baltimore.
posted by AliceBlue at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

And now that I've schlepped up to my bookshelf to double check what else: From Mobtown to Charm City touches on economic and labor history, Freedom's Port is about the African American community and covers labor history, free and enslaved.
posted by AliceBlue at 12:58 PM on April 14, 2017

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