HIS267 Reading Note 8



University of Toronto *

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Feb 20, 2024





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Reading Note 8 Topic: Black Labour and Capitalist Markets: Little Burgundy What is the main argument or thesis of the work? The mistreatment of Black porters and the vitality of a community What are the most significant arguments that support the thesis? Point 1: From the reading Little Burgundy: The Interwoven Histories of Race, Residence, and Work in Twentieth-Century, Montreal takes on a more personal perspective on what working and living as a black person during the 20th century in Montreal, Quebec, looking at the experiences of Charles Burke Living in Little Burgundy (a black-situated neighbourhood between 2 major railroad stations). Being a porter was the only available job in the area that would pay enough to support a household at the time. It was the only job that a black man could get. Thus, making this position crucial for their survival, these jobs did not pay well to their black porters, but the black workers here were highly educated from black colleges in the US. These men and their families established clubs and organizations that became significant parts of their communities before the 1960s. Their community and members were so strongly intertwined that they created their union to fight for black porters' rights against the city railroad companies. They demanded better working conditions, the ability to move up within their field and better wages, much to the dismay of white train porters and their own CPR unions.
Concepts/Themes: Racism within the workforce Unions and community building The connection between Black porters and the railways What is the principal means by which the author establishes the thesis & supporting arguments? (For example: What types of primary and secondary sources were used? What were the author's primary research and analytical methodologies? What is the relationship between the author's arguments and the sources used? What key definitions does the author utilize?) Point 2: Little Burgundy used first-hand accounts (a primary source) of Black porters and their families to discuss their lives and struggles as porters and how they were able to build a community to create unions needed to protest for their right to fair and equal wages and safer working conditions (highly the importance of unity among themselves for the greater good). Point 3: What does the work promise to achieve? Does the author succeed? Why or why not? Were the author's goals, in fact, valid and valuable? (For example: Is it a work of broad synthesis that pulls together an expansive subject, or is it a specialized research monograph?) Little Burgundy focused on trying to counteract the problem (in this case, the working conditions and challenges faced by black porters within the railroad industry). The Little Burgundy paper did this better using first-hand accounts from black porters and their families by showing what they went through and how they, as a community, came together to fight for and actively support their black porters. This paper highlighted the importance of community for Black porters. Point 4:
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