This article explores the shifting politics of the Racine, Wisconsin, working-class community from World War II to the 1980s. It looks at the ways Black workers’ activism influenced local politics and how their efforts played out in the 1970s and 1980s. Case studies show how an expansive view of the boundaries of the Racine labor community led to cross-sector labor solidarity and labor-community coalitions that expanded economic citizenship rights for more working people in the city. The broad-based working-class vision pursued by the Racine labor community influenced local elections, housing and education, increased the number of workers with the power of unions behind them, and improved Racine's economic and social conditions. By the 1980s, Racine's labor community included not only industrial workers but also members of welfare and immigrants’ rights groups, parents of inner-city students, social workers and other white-collar public employees, and local and state politicians willing to support a class-based agenda in the political arena. Worker activists’ ability to maintain and adapt their notion of a broad-based labor community into the late twentieth century shows how this community and others like it responded to the upheaval of the 1960s social movements by creating a broad and relatively successful concept of worker solidarity that also incorporated racial justice.

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