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Capitalism without Capital

Capitalism without Capital

Postwar Employment Activism

(p.162) Chapter Five Capitalism without Capital
Crucibles of Black Empowerment
Jeffrey Helgeson
University of Chicago Press

Like Chapter 4, this chapter details the uneven opportunities black workers faced during the postwar economic boom. Even as the economy grew, stable, low-skilled jobs were disappearing. In the face of this growing crisis, this chapter shows that most black reformers in Chicago continued to focus on trying to train and place black men in the remaining jobs. This was true of activists in the Chicago Urban League struggling over how to best serve local workers, as well as of newer protest organizations like those connected to the Negro American Labor Council and Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Operation Breadbasket. They all found it was easier to break down barriers to specific jobs for limited numbers of workers than it was to distribute the jobs they won, much less to fight for the improvement of service-sector jobs or the creation of jobs in black neighborhoods.

Keywords:   Chicago Urban League, Negro American Labor Council, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Operation Breadbasket, Postwar, Economic boom, Jobs, Black workers

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