Studies in Midwestern History

Document Type



Focusing on Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Milwaukee, this article explores the transformation of research on black workers in the urban Midwest from the foundational years of the early 20th century through recent times. While much work remains to be done, a century of innovative research on different time periods, topics, and themes provides an excellent opportunity to craft a regional Midwestern synthesis of black labor and working class history.

This article is based upon Professor Trotter's keynote address, "Toward a Regional Synthesis of the Black Working Class: The Urban Midwest from the American Revolution to the Postindustrial Age," given at the Fourth Annual Midwestern History Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on June 6, 2018. The article also draws partly from Professor Trotter's forthcoming book, Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America (University of California Press, 2019).

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License