A Black Revolutionary’s Life in Labor: Black Workers Power in Detroit, a new book by Michael Hamlin recounts his first-hand experiences as one of the leaders of a powerful working class movement of black workers in the industrial city of Detroit in the late 1960’s. Hamlin was a key organizer of DRUM and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.
Excerpts from the book: “As the League was organized, we realized that to organize people in the community we would need many communication tools. Two major goals of the “Black Manifesto” were to raise money to establish black printing and film operations. We had started a newspaper and Black Star Publishing was working on two books. We were speaking in the community, writing articles and giving interviews to radical magazines but our audience was small. John Watson was interested in making films that could be widely distributed. We established Black Star Productions.
Watson worked with a group of progressive filmmakers from New York to make a film “Finally Got the News”. This highly successful film is a powerful expression of the plight of black workers who were originally brought to this country as slaves. As industry replaced plantations as the primary source of capital in the U.S, black workers continued in their role as fodder, an army of labor to be picked up and discarded, always relegated to the lowest paying, hardest, most dangerous jobs in the industry.”
The film documents the League’s successful attack on the brutal racist discrimination that pervaded places of employment in the United States at that time. The film is still in frequent use today in university and community educational settings as young people seek to understand the explosion of rage by black workers of the period. Stills from the film are found in Mike’s book.
Photos left to right: Black workers had concentrated power in the plants. Discontent spread to other plants across the U.S. Women played a critical role.
News Update: We exhibit Mike’s book at the Flint Library Book Expo on Sat, May 4th 2- 4 pm.
On Thursday, May 16th Mike presents Book/Author Talk at SOURCE Booksellers, 5:00 pm. 4240 Cass Avenue, Suite 105, in Midtown Detroit. Please join us!! 313-821-1155 for more info. Become a follower on this website for all our latest news. Simply press “Follow”.