OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Speaker to explore the labor politics of the black power movement

10/13/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Author Trevor Griffey will discuss “The Labor Politics of the Black Power Movement: Urban Redevelopment and the Politics of Community Control in the 1960s,” on Monday, Oct. 25, at Oregon State University.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be at 4 p.m. in the Memorial Union, La Raza Room (room 208), on the OSU campus.

Based on his new book, “Black Power at Work,” Griffey will describe how the demand for more black community control — especially in the government’s “war on poverty” and urban construction projects — became central to community organizing for black economic self-determination and political autonomy in the 1960s.

The history of the movement’s community organizing tradition relates to more recent debates about job training and placement for unemployed, underemployed, and underrepresented workers, Griffey says. Protests at federal construction projects led to modern affirmative action and minority set-aside programs in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Griffey said. But these programs relied on voluntary compliance by contractors and unions, government enforcement was inadequate, and they were not connected to jobs programs, he said.

According to Griffey, the struggle to have construction jobs serve as a pathway out of poverty for inner city residents remains an unfinished part of the struggle for racial justice and labor union reform in the United States.

Griffey is a doctoral student at the University of Washington and the co-founder and project coordinator of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project. He is the co-editor of the new book, “Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry.”

This lecture is made possible through the support of the Horning Endowment in the Humanities. More information is available at www.oregonstate.edu/cla/history