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Cypress/West Oakland Historical Archaeology Project

Introduction | Part I | Part II |Part III |Part IV |Appendixes & Reports

~ Chapter 7 Detail ~
Train Crew

The rich historical and archaeological data generated by the Cypress Archaeological Project provides an opportunity to examine the material culture of distinct segments of West Oakland’s working class. In this essay, Mark Walker examines divisions in this group according workers’ craft-skills and origins. His approach is to examine their standard of living as it is expressed in diet as well as how workers represented themselves within the discourse of Victorian material culture as represented by their table settings. These divisions between workers also played out in the struggles between industrial and craft unions and in the nativist movements that periodically rocked the political landscape. In pursuing its theme of local labor issues, Chapter 7 features side essays on two local labor leaders: Morris “Dad” Moore and Jack London. The photo shows an 1880s switching crew that includes men of the various crafts and origins that comprised the West Oakland workforce.

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