CB 100 BOOK NOTES - CB100 Making a New Deal Industrial...

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CB100 Making a New Deal Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 Lizabeth Cohen Living and Working in Chicago in 1919: The Steel Towns of Southeast Chicago: Calumet region -steel dominated the economy -steel plants “overwhelmed the landscape” -settlements were isolated by scrap yards/ dumping grounds/ industrial wastelands -each of the towns were separated by ethnicity -Bush = Polish unskilled laborers -brick bungalows of Cheltenham = skilled workers, usually Swedes and Germans -Greenbay “the vice district” = recent immigrants at the mills (Mexicans) -ethnic conflict was egregiously present -employees received few benefits were spared company’s meddling in lives outside work Packingtown: “‘Back of the Yards’ and other neighborhoods adjacent to packing plants” -community isolation -ethnic insulation -employer indifference -Big Four Packers: Armour, Swift, Wilson, Morris -packing = largest employer in Chicago -Kamfurt, “The vast majority of workers could not speak the English language or neither understand one another. Profane language was easily learned by the foreign born, that was about the only English that one heard” (28). -wartime unions separated workers by skill, nationality, race not department like early 20 th century added to segregation Old Immigrant Neighborhoods: West and NW sides, residents worked in garment trade and light industry -“Old World ghettos” -ethnic Chicagoans went to buy authentic foods and goods for ethnic purposes -places to “settle upon arrival and leave asap” -no single industry organized economic life The Southwest Corridor to McCormick and Hawthorne: stretching from Cicero (working class suburb), encompassing McCormick Works (central International Harvester installation) and Hawthorne Works of Western Electric -promised steadier and better paying than packing houses and small plants of West Side -ethnically diverse workforce minimized militance (esp. at Haymarket)
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-Hawthorne Works = working class towns of Cicero and Berwyn -more ethnically homogeneous workforce -actively involved in affairs of surrounding community The Black Belt: close to 90% of Chicago’s black population lived – blacks traveled from homes in “belt” to jobs in mills, stockyards, and other factories -black population inc tremendously because of migration from south -race determined location – unlike steel and packing towns -even with distance, blacks migrated to Chicago for factory jobs during and after WWI -war created more demand for products, and fewer laborers: blacks were necessary -during WWI more than ½ black males worked in packinghouses (60- 70%) in some -garment industry began hiring black women in 1917 -not because of war, but as strikebreakers in highly unionized garment industry -Western Electric and Wisconsin Steel did not hire black workers during war -management respected community fears of blacks -employees greatly influenced employers in race matters as a respect issue between employer and employee 1919 Strikes of Chicago -progressive leaders of Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL):
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