“A painstakingly thorough examination of the black worker as a commodity and a concept within the Progressive imagination. . . . Lawrie boldly demonstrates how a race-based form of industrial capitalism was central to the making of the modern U.S. state during the Progressive Era."
—Davarian L. Baldwin, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies, Trinity College
"Forging A Laboring Race is an important and imaginative contribution to the history of race and labor in the Progressive Era. It is also a brisk, powerful, and re-orienting critique of the very notion of 'the black worker' as a discrete category of experience. This notion was produced by myriad think tanks, self-professed social scientists, and busy-bodied state agencies, and it had real consequences for the men and women who arrived in the urban North in the first Great Migration. It persists to this day."
—Matthew Pratt Guterl, Brown University
"The book is a reminder of the need to examine the production, dissemination, and broad acceptance of scientific knowledge in historical context, and does so itself in a compact analysis that will interest scholars of race and ethnicity, progressivism, state formation, and the history of science."
“Lawrie demonstrates that difference, and most specifically blackness, has been conceived as problematic by Americans. Unfortunately, Americans continue to struggle with the question of whether a diverse group of people can form and maintain a cohesive and strong nation. In our contemporary period, those who say it cannot be done continue to rely on false data; in this matter, Lawrie’s work can help us greet the future as well as the past.”
—Canada and the United States
"A stimulating account of the uses of sciences and the state in defining blackness in the services of war and capitalism, and important reading for any scholar of race, the progressive era, or modernity."
—Canadian Journal of History
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