Cleveland Benjamins Dead: A Struggle for Dignity in Louisianas Cane Country Patsy Sims

ISBN: 9780820315812

Published: June 1st 1994

Hardcover

247 pages


Description

Cleveland Benjamins Dead: A Struggle for Dignity in Louisianas Cane Country  by  Patsy Sims

Cleveland Benjamins Dead: A Struggle for Dignity in Louisianas Cane Country by Patsy Sims
June 1st 1994 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, ZIP | 247 pages | ISBN: 9780820315812 | 6.51 Mb

Through a tough-minded mix of journalism and oral history, Patsy Sims chronicles daily life in a community of impoverished workers behind southern Louisianas cane curtain in the 1970s. The world of the sugar cane plantations, isolated by rows ofMoreThrough a tough-minded mix of journalism and oral history, Patsy Sims chronicles daily life in a community of impoverished workers behind southern Louisianas cane curtain in the 1970s.

The world of the sugar cane plantations, isolated by rows of densely grown stalks, defined the lives of the blacks who lived and labored there, cut off from any prospects of better conditions by the wall of exploitation erected by the white growers. In 1972, two of the cane workers, backed by a small, courageous labor advocacy group, sued the Department of Agriculture over irregularities in the process by which their minimum wages were set.

At stake were three months of retroactive pay for twelve thousand laborers. To the powerful sugar interest groups, the lawsuit was an outrage- to the workers, it was a chance to begin to redeem the century of intermittent apathy and bloody labor unrest that had followed the end of slavery. Sims, then a reporter for the New Orleans States-Item, went on extended assignment to gauge local reaction to the lawsuit and to investigate substandard housing, poor nutrition, and inadequate job safety.

She had been on the story for two weeks when a young worker, Cleveland Benjamin, was crushed to death beneath an overturned tractor. From this tragic departure point, the reader enters the world of Americas forgotten poor.

Described at length by the workers themselves, it is a world ordered by the most cynical remnants of Old South patriarchal attitudes, a world where all but a few in positions to help the workers have been coerced into inaction.

Throughout the account, however one is impressed not only by the workers hardships but by their perseverance and hope. A shorteredition of Cleveland Benjamins Dead was published in 1981. Critically acclaimed, the book was compared by reviewers to both The Grapes of Wrath and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

This new edition restores material omitted from the first, including two complete chapters. A new, fuller



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