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The Progressives' CenturyPolitical Reform, Constitutional Government, and the Modern American State$
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Stephen Skowronek, Stephen M Engel, and Bruce Ackerman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300204841

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300204841.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Rights Through Knowledge and Reason

Rights Through Knowledge and Reason

Civil Rights Aspirations in the Progressive-Era Department of Labor

Chapter:
(p.316) 14 Rights Through Knowledge and Reason
Source:
The Progressives' Century
Author(s):

Paul Frymer

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300204841.003.0015

This chapter focuses on the work of African American activists in the Department of Labor (DOL) during the Progressive era, and on two men in particular: W. E. B. Du Bois and George E. Haynes. The labor problem was in many ways at the heart of the Progressive project, and the establishment of the DOL and its forerunner, the Bureau of Labor, represented an early victory. Like many of these early institutional victories, the DOL was not a huge success. Its power was at the margins, and it rarely used such power for anything more than conciliation and tepid reformism. In the area of race, the DOL did little to disturb a racially fragmented labor market dominated by white employers and by unions that discriminated against African Americans. But the department, following the Progressive spirit of believing in the power of knowledge, science, and expertise to expose societal problems and begin the process of solving them, participated in a quite wide-ranging examination of black labor in American life. Some of this was through issued reports. Du Bois wrote three of these reports for the Bureau of Labor in the years around 1900. In addition, the DOL created the Division of Negro Economics, headed by George Haynes.

Keywords:   Progressive era, African American activists, Department of Labor, Progressives, W. E. B. Du Bois, George E. Haynes

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