Silk Stockings and Socialism: Labor in the Jazz Age

Coming up this weekend at the American Labor Museum in Haledon, New Jersey, is a book talk and signing event with author Sharon McConnell-Sidorick. From the Museum: On Saturday, May 20th, 2017 at 2PM,  Sharon McConnell-Sidorick will discuss her new book, Silk Stockings and Socialism:  Philadelphia’s Radical Hosiery Workers from the Jazz Age to the New Deal (University of North Carolina Press, 2017).  Copies of the book will be available for purchase.  Light refreshments will be served.

Dr. McConnell-Sidorick’s book explores how working-class youth created a radical labor movement in the 1920s and 1930s, starting in a Philadelphia neighborhood and expanding to New Jersey, the South, and across the U.S.

Dr. McConnell-Sidorick notes, “In the midst of the 1920s Jazz Age, the young people flooding into the factories making the iconic fashion item of the flappers – full-fashioned silk stockings – were avid participants in Jazz Age culture, but they also embraced a surprising, rights-based labor movement, headed by the socialist-led American Federation of Full-Fashioned Hosiery Workers.  That community-based movement fused youth culture, labor feminism, and radical politics to build a subculture that forged a dynamic vision for social change, pioneered innovative strike tactics that foreshadowed the sit-down strike, led to the first New Deal housing program, and would have a lasting impact on the American labor movement and New Deal politics.

“It is remarkable that the hosiery workers’ central role in the labor movement of the 1920’s and 1930’s has been overlooked as it has been in the historical literature, notes author Janet Irons.  She continues, “McConnell-Sidorick is the first to fully tell this story, and she tells it masterfully.  For anyone trying to understand the trajectory of the US labor movement in the twentieth century, this book is a vital resource.”

For more information, visit the American Labor Museum site. The museum is located in the historic Botto house, which was an important location for union workers during the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike.

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