The selections in this collection illustrate the extraordinary complexity characterizing the relationship between black workers and organized labor. Policies of the different unions have ranged from genuine egalitarianism and complete acceptance of Negro laborers to their total exclusion.
The essays in this anthology cover a time span extending from the heyday of the Knights of Labor in the 1880s to the period following the merger of the AFL and CIO in the 1950s. Thus, the selections range in time from the black man's participation in the first major national labor federation in the United States to the militant Negro trade unionists' disenchantment with the policies of the merged AFL-CIO on the eve of the civil rights revolution of the 1960s.
-(Summary excerpted from the Introduction of the text on page 1)-