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Cooperatives in New OrleansCollective Action and Urban Development$
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Anne Gessler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496827616

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496827616.001.0001

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The Brotherhood of Co-operative Commonwealth: Modernizing Infrastructure and Public Welfare at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century

The Brotherhood of Co-operative Commonwealth: Modernizing Infrastructure and Public Welfare at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century

Chapter:
(p.23) Chapter One The Brotherhood of Co-operative Commonwealth: Modernizing Infrastructure and Public Welfare at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century
Source:
Cooperatives in New Orleans
Author(s):

Anne Gessler

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496827616.003.0002

In 1897, the confluence of a four-year national depression; interracial violence; unpredictable flooding and epidemics; and legalized segregation and disenfranchisement spelled intense social disruption for New Orleanians of color and impoverished whites. Trem-based Creoles of color joined a renewed effort to bring utopian socialism to bear on state-sanctioned economic and political oppression. Meeting in integrated labor halls and saloons, multiracial socialists and labor activists translated American, Caribbean, and European utopian socialist theory into a cooperative blueprint for equitably integrating unemployed workers into the city’s economic structure. These interracial utopian socialists, called the Brotherhood of Co-operative Commonwealth, and later, the Laboring Men’s Protective Association, built coalitions with labor, women’s rights, and political reform allies to temporarily reknit the city’s fractured labor movement, improve the city’s crumbling infrastructure, and implement an egalitarian public welfare system to benefit all New Orleanians.

Keywords:   Brotherhood of Co-operative Commonwealth, public welfare, infrastructure, Laboring Men’s Protective Association, Trem Neighborhood

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