The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 178

178 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
forums; the IOC also pressed for internal convenantal compliance and to halt
incompatible external development, each of which threatened the communi-
ty's integrity.
If this catalogue of social activism sounds banal, that is Wilson's point. The
display of organizational energies and social commitment were part of larger
cultural patterns that shaped postwar suburban life. Yet these patterns, as
Hamilton Park demonstrates, were ephemeral. Pioneer homeowners came to
believe those who followed them were less committed citizens. Civil rights legis-
lation ultimately led to the closure of the Jim Crow schools that had served
local youth; "it was then that a community pivot slipped its socket" (p. 138),
Wilson writes tellingly. Amid the oil-patch boom of the mid-198os, land specu-
lators and residents negotiated-unsuccessfully-for a buyout of the entire sub-
division; the once purposely isolated Hamilton Park was now sitting on prime
real estate. Its commercial potential remains high, leading a builder to confide
that it is "getting to the point where they will be better off selling than staying"
(p. 198). Should the property be re-platted and rebuilt to suit other needs, that
will not "negate the historical value of Hamilton Park" (p. 198). And it will not
because Wilson has made the community's rich experience an inexpungible
part of the historical record.
Tnnty University CHAR MILLER
Black Unionism in the Industnal South. By Ernest Obadele-Starks. (College Station:
Texas A&M University Press, 1999. Pp. xxi+183. Illustrations, tables,
acknowledgments, introduction, conclusion, notes, bibliography, index.
ISBN 0-8909-6912-4. $29.95, cloth.)
Black Unionism in the Industrial South is an excellent first step toward under-
standing what black workers did to empower themselves as a collective body in
their struggle to create a fair and equitable workplace along the
Louisiana/Texas Gulf Coast. Though the author fails to provide an adequate
narrative to support the book's broad title, his work is an important point of
departure for the study of black labor in Texas. He succinctly states "it examines
the responses and strategies of black unionists to race and class domination
along the Texas Gulf Coast" (p. xvi). One of the strengths of this work is his
treatment of the workers as actors in their own behalf. He explains how blacks
formed weak coalitions that required that they accommodate to white unions
and management in the name of progress. Then he indicates how blacks danced
with the devil (accommodated to whites) in order to achieve goals of economic
self betterment and token social equality on the job. Starks also introduces
important figures of the broader struggle for civil rights in Houston, such as
NAACP leaders C. F. Richardson, Carter Wesley, and Lulu White, as well as labor
leaders like C. W. Rice and Moses Leroy, along with a host of the rank-and-file
who played significant roles in the movement. By examining the upper Texas
Gulf Coast he demonstrates the aggressive tone of the large economically inde-
pendent black elite leadership in Houston.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. ( accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.