ABOUT THIS BOOK
This book is the first devoted entirely to an examination of working-class activism, broadly defined as that of farmers’ organizations, labor unions, and (often biracial) political movements, in Arkansas during the Gilded Age. On one level, Hild argues for the significance of this activism in its own time: had the Arkansas Democratic Party not resorted to undemocratic, unscrupulous, and violent means of repression, the Arkansas Union Labor Party would have taken control of the state government in the election of 1888. He also argues that the significance of these movements lasted beyond their own time, their influence extending into the biracial Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union of the 1930s, the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and even today’s Farmers’ Union and the United Mine Workers of America.
The story of farmer and labor protest in Arkansas during the late nineteenth century offers lessons relevant to contemporary
working-class Americans in what some observers have called the “new Gilded Age.”