Langston Hughes called it "a great dark tide from the South": the unprecedented influx of blacks into Cleveland that gave the city the nickname "Alabama North." This remarkable study reveals the breadth of working-class black experiences and activities in Cleveland and the extent to which these were shaped by traditions and values brought from the South.
Kimberley Phillips shows how migrants established complex networks of kin and Mends and infused the city with a highly visible southern African-American culture. She examines the wide variety of organizations black working-class migrants created and demonstrates how they prepared the way for new forms of individual and collective activism in workplaces and the city.
Giving special consideration to the employment patterns and experiences of working-class black women in Cleveland, AlabamaNorth reveals how migrants' expressions of tradition and community gave them a new consciousness of themselves as organized workers in the urban North and created the underpinning for new forms of black labor activism.