Saturday, April 1, 2017

March 31

On this day in 1866, Josiah Crenshaw of Tupelo, Mississippi founded The National Aliance of Native American Farm Laborers, a brotherhood of seasonal agricultural workers who were protesting the new wave of freed negroes who were being hired to do farm work at a fraction of the salary white laborers  expected. According to Crenshaw's manifesto, "The Rights of Native American Workers," the new laws requiring that negroes, who he did not consider to be true Native Americans, be paid, had resulted in dire circumstances for the only true Native American workers: white men. 

Word of Crenshaw's manifesto and new organization quickly spread around the country, and emboldened his fellow Americans, including those who had ventured west, in search of opportunity, and were facing unfair competition in seasonal agricultural work from not only freed negroes, but Mexicans and, in some places, even Indians. 

Crenshaw's rally cry for the rights of  true Native Americans, like himself, was not made in vain. That valiant cry was heard, loud and clear. Today, labor conditions and salaries for white men in every sectorof the workforce are better than ever, and a white man in America has every reason to believe that, when pitted against a black man, a Mexican, or an Indian (the kind from here, not the kind from Inia. Actually, um, them, too.) for the same job, it will be he who prevails.