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Title:Indispensable Outcasts: Seasonal Laborers and Community in the Upper Midwest, 1880--1930
Author(s):Higbie, Frank Tobias
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Barrett, James R.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Abstract:The upper midwestern United States is the geographic focus, especially Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, northern Illinois, northern Michigan, and northwestern Iowa. The structure of agricultural production, especially in the wheat belt, and the structure of the labor market for unskilled laborers are detailed. The origins and identity of laborers, variously known as "floaters," "migratory laborers," "hoboes" and "tramps," are detailed through census materials, memoirs, oral histories (not conducted by the author), and records of government investigations. Social reformers studied labor market structures, interviewed laborers, and frequently lived undercover as "workers." Reformers discussed include Nels Anderson, Carleton Parker, Whiting Williams, Josiah Flynt, Walter Wyckoff, and Peter Speek of the United States Commission on Industrial Relations. Their reports and diaries not only describe living conditions, but also demarcate class division itself as investigators moved between middle class and working class worlds. Radical organizers, most of whom were laborers themselves, organized to build community among laborers and to challenge their marginal position in the communities they worked in temporarily or passed through in search of work. Conflict over different notions of manly behavior were integral to the descriptions and practices of this group of laboring men. The organizing campaigns of the Agricultural Workers Organization (AWO) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) provides the backdrop for analysis of how communities in the upper midwest handled the seasonal influx of outside labor. Towns discussed include Mitchell, Redfield and Aberdeen, South Dakota; Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot, North Dakota; Sioux City, Iowa; Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota.
Issue Date:2000
Description:372 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9955624
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2000

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