- No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era by Jacqueline Jones
- Monday, April 3, 2023—Noon to 1:00pm
- State Library of Massachusetts—Room 341, Massachusetts State House
- Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/user/mastatelibrary
About the book: No Right to an Honest Living is described by the publisher as a harrowing portrait of Black workers and white hypocrisy in nineteenth-century Boston. Impassioned antislavery rhetoric made antebellum Boston famous as the nation’s hub of radical abolitionism. In fact, however, the city was far from a beacon of equality. In No Right to an Honest Living, Dr. Jones reveals how Boston was the United States writ small: a place where the soaring rhetoric of egalitarianism was easy, but justice in the workplace was elusive. Before, during, and after the Civil War, white abolitionists and Republicans refused to secure equal employment opportunity for Black Bostonians, condemning most of them to poverty. Still, Jones finds, some Black entrepreneurs ingeniously created their own jobs and forged their own career paths. Highlighting the everyday struggles of ordinary Black workers, this book shows how injustice in the workplace prevented Boston—and the United States—from securing true equality for all.
For anyone unable to attend this talk in person, we will be livestreaming this event on our YouTube channel, courtesy of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Broadcast Services.
About the author: Jacqueline Jones is the Ellen C. Temple Professor of Women’s History Emerita at the University of Texas at Austin, and she has also previously taught at Wellesley College and Brandeis University. Her fields of study include U.S. labor, urban, southern, African American, and women’s history. She is the author of ten books, two of which were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in History. Dr. Jones has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bancroft Prize in American History, a MacArthur Fellowship, and the Taft Prize in Labor History, and in 2021 she served as president of the American Historical Association.
Dr. Jones’ talk is free and open to everyone, and those who attend in person will have the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with the author. Additionally, assistive listening devices will be available upon request, courtesy of the Massachusetts State House ADA Coordinator.
If you’d like to learn more about the State Library’s author talk series, including our lineup of future speakers, please visit our website at https://www.mass.gov/state-library-author-talk-series