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. 

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 will bring specifically to different regions such as southern Asia, the Mediterranean, Pacific islands, the US, and more. Currently, I am taking an oceanography class to get my natural science with lab out of the way, and a great portion of that class concerns climate change, how our oceans are changing as a result, and how those changes will impact humankind. This class is interesting, as we are focusing more on the science of the ocean and how that relates to climate change than centering in on how climate change will impact humankind as our primary lens for analysis. However, despite all of this research of mine into the topic of climate change throughout my high school and college years, I have never really learned about the specifics of climate change and Virginia, apart from some very broad predictions as to what will happen to the Hampton Roads area, as well as the (not so) gradual disappearance of Tangier Island.

One section of the reading that I liked a lot was pages 24 through 26, where the model depicting Virginia’s “moving” summer climate is analyzed and discussed. The findings are very approximated, and as always concerning climate change, there could well be factors that even the most insightful climate scientists cannot accurately predict. However, the model was constructed by a professional, using a wide range of pre-existing models and data. It shows that if a cautious route is taken, and CO2 emissions are curved downward, Virginia’s climate may resemble that of something along the lines of a modern southern Virginia/northern North Carolina hybrid by mid century, and a modern North Carolina/northern South Carolina hybrid by the end of the current century. If we simply go about “business as usual,” and no significant effort is made at reducing CO2 output, which seems to be closer to the case today, Virginia’s climate may resemble modern South Carolina’s by mid century, and modern southern Georgia/northern Florida’s by the end of the century. It is noted that Virginia does have a very different situation than Florida, however, so while we may be experiencing their temperatures by the end of this century, shall we go down a lousier case scenario, we will not receive the same sort of bicoastal sea breezes that modern northern Florida experiences, as Virginia is not a bicoastal state. Rather, we will experience the sweltering modern Alabama or Mississippi heats that have little to no cushion provided by large seacoasts as in northern Florida’s case. As well, animal and plant life in Virginia is simply not built for those sorts of climates in any case, and many Virginian species will suffer greatly. Of course, any dent to the Virginian ecosystem will cause a shockwave impacting all life, even human, detrimentally.

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