Wendell Young's memoirs offer a story for our troubled times. In an era where working people have grave concerns about job rights, the treatment of immigrants, law-and-order rhetoric, and policing that can veer toward brutality, Young provides an example of a thoughtful person committed to action in pursuit of a vibrant vision of social justice.

Young was not a dreamer but a man of action. Philadelphia's chapter of the Retail Clerks Union elected him president in 1962 at the age of twenty-four. He came into office with a commitment to improving the lives of African American and women union members as well as working-class Philadelphians across the board. This effort at broad class improvement was, to Young, the essence of social justice unionism. “The labor movement,” he once said, “was about . . . recognizing the needs and working toward helping the poor across the city” (190). Such a worldview...

You do not currently have access to this content.