Skip to main content


Workers on Arrival

Black Labor in the Making of America

Jr. Trotter, Joe William

Paperback

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (1/8/2019)

Description

"An eloquent and essential correction to contemporary discussions of the American working class."—The Nation

From the ongoing issues of poverty, health, housing, and employment to the recent upsurge of lethal police-community relations, the black working class stands at the center of perceptions of social and racial conflict today. Journalists and public policy analysts often discuss the black poor as “consumers” rather than “producers,” as “takers” rather than “givers,” and as “liabilities” instead of “assets.”
 
In his engrossing history, Workers on Arrival, Joe William Trotter, Jr., refutes these perceptions by charting the black working class’s vast contributions to the making of America. Covering the last four hundred years since Africans were first brought to Virginia in 1619, Trotter traces the complicated journey of black workers from the transatlantic slave trade to the demise of the industrial order in the twenty-first century. At the center of this compelling, fast-paced narrative are the actual experiences of these African American men and women. A dynamic and vital history of remarkable contributions despite repeated setbacks, Workers on Arrival expands our understanding of America’s economic and industrial growth, its cities, ideas, and institutions, and the real challenges confronting black urban communities today.


Praise For Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America

“Mr. Trotter has synthesized an eye-popping array of scholarship into a slim volume, one that should be read by . . . the general public, and especially by those whose bad-Twitter-argument-of-the-day calendar is turned to: ‘African-Americans have been superfluously aided by undue economic initiatives.’”
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“This book shows the fruitful results of decades of scholarship in the field. This vital contribution is particularly timely after a period in which ‘the working class’ has somehow become synonymous with white Americans in the middle of the country. In fact, African Americans have been central to that history, including now in a new global capitalist economy. With consummate skill and compression of prose, the book surveys the ‘lives and labor of black workers’ . . . A splendidly rigorous and authoritative text from an accomplished senior scholar.”
— CHOICE

"Restores and presents the vast contributions of African American workers from the earliest days of the country, the 1600s, until the present. . . . A highly readable and accessible history that will be a classic in the field.”
— Book Riot

“An eloquent and essential correction to contemporary discussions of the American working class. . . . Trotter’s achievement is to synthesize [a] rich body of historical scholarship into a single volume written with an eye to a general audience.”


— The Nation

"Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America is the type of book that shapes an entire field of knowledge. It is the type of book that I wish every senior scholar would write: a book that only becomes possible to produce after a significant amount of time and effort in careful study, paying attention to the broad movements in the field and the thousands of nuances that it produces.”
 
— Journal of Working-Class Studies

"Not just a welcome new synthesis of Black workers in urban America but an urgent history that seeks to overturn assumptions about who is part of the 'working class,' and indeed, who built America."
— Journal of Social History

"Workers on Arrival in some ways functions both as a book on African American labor history and as a survey of much of black social and community history as well. . . . Trotter's sweeping overview serves as an entrée to the work of dozens of scholars who have transformed the field over the past half century."
 
— Business History Review

"It is through this lens of racial capitalism, an intellectual framework that situates racism, patriarchy, and nationalism as the active ingredients forthe proper function of capitalism, that Workers on Arrival forces us to understand the making of the United States of America." 
— Ethnic and Racial Studies

University of California Press, 9780520377516, 328pp.

Publication Date: January 19, 2021



About the Author

Joe William Trotter, Jr., is Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice, and Founder and Director of the Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of Black Milwaukee and Coal, Class, and Color and past president of the Labor and Working Class History Association.