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20ogBook Reviews131 culty lay in balancing racial uplift and the aspirations of young people with the realities ofJim Crow. Ritterhouse notes that in general working-class black families followed the same model of instruction, with perhaps less emphasis on the performance ofgenteel behavior. Children not only learned customary racial behaviors from their parents but also from their playmates. Interracial play (and even fighting) was not uncommon in the early years of childhood, and through their interaction black and white children discovered the meaning of race. Ritterhouse maintains that white children's experiences were frequently marked by ambiguity and confusion, especially at the moment when their parents decided to forbid future interracial play. By the time they were adolescents, most southern whites had largely forgotten the social elasticity of these early exchanges. Black children, too, often had moments in which they suddenly became conscious of their racial identity and social position. Ritterhouse shows how adolescence was particularly difficult for black teens and she suggests that future studies of the civil rights movement pay more attention to the ways in which black children's experiences and emotions shaped their political consciousness as adults. Ritterhouse's work relies principally on autobiographical accounts and oral histories. Many of the white memoirs she examines were written by southern liberals who produced what Fred Hobson has called "racial conversion narratives." Ironically, the sources she uses to identify black feelings about childhood are more telling given that black parents worried so much about their children's futures. Ritterhouse is very careful to document both the limitations and benefits of her sources. She deftly addresses questions about memory, the reliability of autobiographical accounts, and the social and political position of her storytellers . Her work on the significance of childhood is a superb addition to the literature on theJim Crow South. University ofTexas at DallasNatalieJ. Ring Biracial Unions on Galveston's Waterfront, 1865—1925. By Clifford Farrington. (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2007. Pp. 264. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9780876112175, $29.95 cloth.) In the last decade, Galveston's waterfront unions have been the subject of a number of studies. The focus of these studies has been the tradition of biracial unionism among white and black waterfront workers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In Galveston and other port cities along the Gulf Coast, segregated union locals kept workers divided by race but encouraged cooperation to further common economic interests. Clifford Farrington's Biracial Unions on Galveston's Waterfront, 1865—1925 is the first published monograph on the history of biracial unionism among Galveston's waterfront workers. A revised version of his doctoral dissertation, the study provides an overview of struggles by these workers to overcome racial divisions and promote economic cooperation from the end of the Civil War to 1925. Farrington acknowledges that white racism kept workers divided, but he does not 132Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly discount instances in which they united across racial lines against powerful steamship companies that exploited racial divisions to thwart union demands. The rise of Galveston's strong waterfront unions paralleled the city's rise as a leading commercial seaport after the Civil War. Farrington traces the organizar tional history of white cotton screwmen, whose special skills gave them greater control over the labor supply, wages, and working conditions until black screwmen formed their own unions. In large part due to technological innovations, however, the importance of cotton screwmen declined sharply by the turn of the century. By die early 1 900s, Texas and other southern states were codifying racial segregation . The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) gave Galveston's waterfront workers affiliation with the American Federation of Labor, which bowed to Jim Crow and promoted segregated unions. Farrington shows that the Galveston Dock and Marine Council, like its counterpart in New Orleans, encouraged the division of work along racial lines on a fifty-fifty basis but often failed to reduce friction between white and black ILA locals. Nevertheless, as he points out, significant racial cooperation did take place at times, especially during the long strike of 1920 by black and white coastwise longshoremen against the Mallory and Southern Pacific steamship companies. Widi the help of state militia sent to Galveston...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 131-132
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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