Located on the shore of Lake Superior near the Iron Range of Minnesota and, for much of its history, the site of vast steel, lumber, and shipping industries, Duluth has been home to people who worked tirelessly in the rail yards, grain elevators, and harbor. Here, for the first time, By the Ore Docks presents a compelling, full-length history of the people who built this port city and struggled for both the growth of the city and the rights of their fellow workers.
In By the Ore Docks, Richard Hudelson and Carl Ross trace seventy years in the lives of Duluth’s multi-ethnic working class—Scandinavians, Finns, Italians, Poles, Irish, Jews, and African Americans—and chronicle, along with the events of the times, the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, religious traditions, and communities. But they also tell the dramatic story of how a populist worker’s coalition challenged the “legitimate American” business interests of the city, including the major corporation U.S. Steel.
By the Ore Docks is at once an important history of Duluth and a story of its working people, common laborers as well as union activists like Ernie Pearson, journalist Irene Paull, and Communist party gubernatorial candidate Sam Davis. Hudelson and Ross reveal tension between Duluth’s ethnic groups, while also highlighting the ability of the people to overcome those differences and shape the legacy of the city’s unsettled and remarkable past.