Review of 'Race, Class and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-1921', Brian Kelly, University of Illinois Press £16.99
This book is a welcome addition to US labour history at a time when some labour historians find psychological explanations of racism fashionable. For some an emphasis on 'whiteness' is preferred to materialist explanations. In the hands of the 'whiteness' approach white supremacy has become a benefit for white workers, while the real beneficiaries--the white elite--are ignored. That racial antagonism exists between black and white Southern workers cannot be denied, but for Kelly the main instigators of racial oppression were not white workers, but the white elite.