Kelly: History of labor movement has been ‘buried’

Labor author Kim Kelly said the history of labor workers has purposely been diminished over time. 

Kelly is the author of “Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor,” which examines the stories of factory workers, farm laborers, and domestic workers behind some of the most successful labor movements in United States history. 

“Academics, historians, archivists, they’ve been digging up and preserving these stories for way longer than I’ve been alive, but It’s not always that accessible to just regular rank and file workers with no connection to academia who don’t necessarily know where to look to be able to find these stories,” Kelly said while appearing on Hill.TV’s “Rising.” (00:35-00:51) 

Kelly said that the history of the labor movement has been intentionally hidden by the “powers that be.”

“And you’re not going to necessarily hear about it in high school, you’re not going to hear about it in college unless you’re actively trying to research working class history. It’s kind of been buried just because the powers that be aren’t necessarily interested in working people knowing just how powerful we are and how powerful we’ve always been,” she said (0:51-1:06)

Yet Kelly said the modern labor movement continues to draw on past work.  

“History doesn’t repeat itself necessarily, but it does rhyme, and I think the labor movement at its best pulls from those earlier lessons and uses it to push forward into the future that we’re trying to fight for,” Kelly said. (4:05-4:16)

Tags labor movement


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