The years 1865-1940 were chosen for this project, as they coincide with most of the largest waves of labor activity within the United States, and the labor conditions of this span of time, perhaps apart from early reconstruction, were all impacted predominantly by the second industrial revolution.

Two separate stories within the Richmond working class persisted throughout this span of time; one of the black working class, and the other of the white working class. Into the 20th century, black and white workers were rarely ever seen working in the same settings, and white labor movements were often exclusive towards Richmond’s black population, even within organizations such the Knights of Labor that have been celebrated as places that both the black and white sections of the American working class could convene during its prevalence in the late 1800s. Due to both of these reasons, the black and white sections of Richmond’s working class each took up their own distinct forms of labor struggle during the second industrial revolution.

Upon the ending of chattel slavery, a vast array of measures was thrown at the American black population, including Richmond’s, to draw from them similar gains for the white ruling class as they had seen before the end of chattel slavery. Finding their way through the struggles of sharecropping, the sudden rapid growth of convict slavery, and general entry into society with no platform to build off of were the primary concerns for the black working class of Richmond. Consistently the worst off and most viciously exploited of Richmond’s working class population, labor struggle within the black working class often came abruptly and organically, all throughout the late 1800s and well into the mid-1900s. Richmond’s white working class saw large waves of labor organization throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, until the victory of the Bolsheviks in Russia saw the birth of the Red Scare in America, and labor activity among the white working class of America and Richmond soon dwindled. 

Category: Uncategorized

  • Blog Posts

    All blog posts for this project can be found here… Blog 1 Blog 5 Blog 6 Blog 7 Blog 8 Blog 10

  • Blog 10

    Reading over the New Yorker article titled “Our Obsession with Ancestry Has Some Twisted Roots,” that was linked in the syllabus, it makes sense to me that we all like to have our own origin stories. There was a book that I forgot the name of that I read in 11th grade, about the author’s […]

  • About Me

    My name is Sasho Radoulov, I’m 19-years-old, and I’m from Richmond, Virginia. A sophomore at University of Mary Washington, I’m looking to major in geography, from which I can get a job in urban planning, surveying, or something else along those lines. Academically, my interests are geography and politics. Of course, career-wise, I’ll look to […]

  • A Visual Gallery

    As so much of our knowledge of labor history in America is limited only to newspaper archives with all their potential biases in play, oral histories which may be prone to inaccuracies, and otherwise, nothing else more than mere secondary sources, photographs prove vital in delivering clear views of the conditions that laborers worked under, […]

  • VA Labor Movements Today

    While Virginia’s historic labor movements seem to each have come to premature ends to their short-lived reigns, if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have the foundations for the current labor fights ripping across our state right now. Richmond’s labor past has done just enough to engrave itself into Virginia’s cultural identity and now after […]

  • A Timeline

    Citations… Fink, Leon. “‘Irrespective of Party, Color or Social Standing’;: The Knights of Labor and Opposition Politics in Richmond, Virginia.” Taylor & Francis, 3 July 2008, journalCode=clah20. Gerteis, Joseph. Class and the Color Line Interracial Class Coalition in the Knights of Labor and the Populist Movement. Duke University Press, 2007. Lause, Mark A. Free […]

  • Blog 8

    This week’s reading, while fairly long, offered some very interesting insight as to how climate change will impact Virginia specifically. Through classes as well as research on my own time, I’ve learned a good amount about the wide ranges of impacts that climate change will bring on the world as a whole, plus impacts it […]

  • Blog 7

    This reading about Tangier made me think about when my family visited the island in 2017, and of how strange it is that the residents are being hit by a problem they don’t even realize, and perhaps will continue misdiagnosing even past the point that their island is abandoned. In the early summer of 2017, […]

  • Blog 6

    This past thursday, after my 9:30-10:45 class let off and before my next class at 1:00, I made a visit to the Fredericksburg Area Museum as recommended in the description of this assignment and by a history major friend from jogging club who knows the area pretty well. There, I browsed a bit before taking […]

  • Blog 5

    For the past decade or so, the Rappahannock River has been on a very positive track. The longest free-flowing river in the state of Virginia, it has seen migratory fish return to the further inland parts of the river, oyster populations reach approach the heights they once had, and multiplied eagle nest sites. While this […]