Sharon McConnell-Sidorick: How Flappers Helped Radicalize the Labor Movement and the New Deal

Union activists advanced a far-reaching, class-based vision that saw labor as a means to advance the rights of all working people. It was a vision of a new, socialist world and young members made it their own, combining Jazz Age rebelliousness with the left-wing traditions of the union. Women unionists used the brashness and irreverence that were hallmarks of the “flapper” in a surprisingly left-wing labor culture, merging constructions of “worker” with those of “modern woman.” They became “street-fighting women” supporting labor as a cause for human rights. They picketed and went to jail in droves for refusing to “move to the other side of the street” when ordered to by police, or participating in “lie-downs” to block driveways in front of mills, or calling strikebreakers “scabs” and threatening to beat them up. Women became such stalwarts on the picket lines that when they demanded a greater role in the union leadership, many of their male co-workers rushed to support them, insisting that “the women did do the fighting and you better give them their rights soon.” Continue Reading Sharon McConnell-Sidorick: How Flappers Helped Radicalize the Labor Movement and the New Deal

James Wolfinger: A Tale of Two Levittowns: Race and Housing in Suburban Philadelphia

Today we welcome a guest post from James Wolfinger, author of Philadelphia Divided: Race and Politics in the City of Brotherly Love. Here, Wolfinger sheds light on the rocky beginnings of the Levittown in Bucks County outside of Philadelphia, which was fraught with racial tension and forced segregation by Bill Levitt himself, even years after… Continue Reading James Wolfinger: A Tale of Two Levittowns: Race and Housing in Suburban Philadelphia

James Wolfinger: Home Sweet Home: Race and Public Housing in Philadelphia

The free market in housing works for many people, especially those with access to a good education, a stable job, adequate compensation, and decent health care. But not everyone has those things, and the Depression made us understand that it was not always because of personal failings. Continue Reading James Wolfinger: Home Sweet Home: Race and Public Housing in Philadelphia

Lisa Levenstein weighs in on health care, government involvement & “Old Blockley”

Below is an excerpt of an op-ed piece that Lisa Levenstein wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer about government involvement in health care and the Philadelphia General Hospital. She uses “Old Blockley,” as it was often called, as an example of a a successful public hospital that treated everyone with compassion. Levenstein is an assistant professor… Continue Reading Lisa Levenstein weighs in on health care, government involvement & “Old Blockley”