By Aaron Welt
One hundred years ago, a Jewish, immigrant Socialist almost became New York's mayor. For months, detractors watched in horror as the candidate, Morris Hillquit, galvanized much of the city. In April of that tumultuous year, President Woodrow Wilson had reversed course, and bucked popular opinion, asking Congress for permission to send U.S. troops to fight in the "Great War." Hillquit’s campaign galvanized antiwar sentiment in New York. It was also a flash-point for ethno-religious politics in the city. Jewish New Yorkers, in particular, sparred over what Hillquit’s improbable run meant for America’s increasingly immigrant Jewish population. The Socialist lost the election, accruing about half as many votes as the winner, Tammany Democrat John Hylan. But his campaign was a turning point for many communities in New York, and continues to leave its mark on the city.
“Invaders”: Black Ladies of the ILGWU and the Emergence of the Early Civil Rights Movement in New York City
By Janette Gayle
Black female industrial workers are strikingly absent from literature on the Great Migration and black industrial labor in the twentieth century. Studies like Joe William Trotter Jr.’s Black Milwaukee, James R. Grossman’s Land of Hope, Richard W. Thomas’s Life for Us Is What We Make It, and Peter Gottlieb’s Making Their Own Way have advanced our understanding of black industrial workers and their importance in the making of black communities in the Midwest and northern urban industrial cities, but they focus almost exclusively on the experiences of skilled men. Skilled women are virtually absent from these studies. But women were there. If we look closely at the sources, another picture comes into focus, one in which women such as Maida Springer Kemp, Eldica Riley, Edith Ransom, and thousands of others were indeed part of the black industrial workforce in New York City. If we look closely we will also see that the Great Migration was not a completely unskilled migration. Many migrants -- men as well as women -- were skilled workers. The ones who caught my eye were the dressmakers.
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