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