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Reconsidering Southern Labor HistoryRace, Class, and Power$
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Matthew Hild and Keri Leigh Merritt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056975

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056975.001.0001

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Southern Labor and the Lure of Populism

Southern Labor and the Lure of Populism

Workers and Power in North Carolina

(p.126) 8 Southern Labor and the Lure of Populism
Reconsidering Southern Labor History

Deborah Beckel

University Press of Florida

In this chapter Deborah Beckel reconsiders historians' analyses of the Knights of Labor in Gilded Age North Carolina. Based on new research, it reframes interpretations of labor's role in the rise of Populism. Reevaluating race, class, gender, and power relations within and among the Knights of Labor, Farmers' Alliance, and People's Party movements, it shows how black and white men and women, including Ellen Williams, shaped interracial, cross-class, and cross-gender activism. It reexamines the ways that grassroots African-American leaders communicated with state and national leaders, including Marion Butler, Elias Carr, and John Hayes. The chapter rethinks the roles of the Knights of Labor and the Republican Party in North Carolina's fusion coalition. It reassesses the meanings of the Republican-Populist political victories of the 1890s.

Keywords:   Knights of Labor, Gilded Age, Farmers' Alliance, People's Party, Populism

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