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Reading Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction

Tue, April 25, 2023 @ 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Free – $90

A close reading over 10 weeks of W.E.B. Du Bois’s classic work, Black Reconstruction in America. The book provides a basis for a much overdue revolution in US labor history. As Du Bois so eloquently and bluntly put in in 1935: “The South, after the war, presented the greatest opportunity for a real national labor movement which the nation ever saw or is likely to see again for many decades. Yet, the labor movement, with but few exceptions, never realized the situation. It never had the intelligence or knowledge, as a whole, to see in black slavery and Reconstruction, the kernel and meaning of the labor movement in the United States.”

In a 1968 speech Martin Luther King, Jr., hailed Black Reconstruction as “a monumental achievement … White historians had for a century crudely distorted the Negro’s role in the Reconstruction years. It was a conscious and deliberate manipulation of history, and the stakes were high. Dr. Du Bois confronted this powerful structure of historical distortion and dismantled it. He virtually, before anyone else and more than anyone else, demolished the lies about Negroes in their most important and creative period of history. The truths he revealed are not yet the property of all Americans but they have been recorded and arm us for our contemporary battles.”

Sean Ahern is a long-time New York City labor activist and anti-racist fighter. He has worked as a labor organizer in the US Postal Service, the transit industry, and education.