T. Thomas Fortune: “The Present Relations of Labor and Capital”

(1886)

T. Thomas Fortune’s speech “The Present Relations of Labor and Capital” was an important statement of economic radicalism by a leading black writer, newspaper editor, and political activist of the late nineteenth century. The speech was given on April 20, 1886, and then first appeared in print on May 1—May Day—in Fortune’s newspaper, the New York Freeman. Fortune was one of the few high-profile black leaders of the era to voice his support for the labor movement and to embrace Socialist principles. Fortune believed that industrial labor unions, concentrated in northern cities and...

Image for: T. Thomas Fortune: “The Present Relations of Labor and Capital”

Scenes of the 1877 railroad strike (Library of Congress)

View Full Size