Peter Cole's Blog, Review

Ben Fletcher and Militancy on the Docks— on Against the Grain

By Against the Grain

He’s one of the most important African American leaders you’ve probably never heard of: Ben Fletcher was a trailblazing anti-capitalist and labor leader, heading up the powerful multiracial Philadelphia-based dockworkers union, Local 8. Historian Peter Cole has made it his life’s work to unearth the contributions of Fletcher, who was jailed for his politics, and has left a legacy from which we can still learn.


The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project

Peter Cole (ed.), Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly PM Press, 2021

Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly

Peter Cole is a professor of history at Western Illinois University in Macomb and a research associate in the Society, Work and Development Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Cole is the author of the award-winning Dockworker Power: Race and Activism in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area and Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia. He coedited Wobblies of the World: A Global History of the IWW. He is the founder and codirector of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project.