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Unpublished Paper
Negotiating Community: A Case Study of the International Longshoremen Association’s Union Hall in Tampa
Race and Place: Cultural Landscapes of Black Life in America (2014)
  • Tomaro I. Taylor, University of South Florida
Abstract
Studies documenting the lived experiences of African American longshoremen in North America are relatively scarce. Few works capture the day-to-day lives of this working-class group and its place in the community. Instead, the literature often focuses on working conditions and related aspects of the job, overlooking the greater geographic spaces in which longshoremen engage in social, cultural or recreational activities. As an extension, research focused on community-making within the longshoreman community―that is, the development, integration and intersection of longshoreman culture within the greater community culture―is minimal, thereby suggesting the relative invisibility of this group within research that centers on the places and spaces they inhabit. One often-overlooked space, the longshoreman union hall, factors prominently in the longshoreman’s negotiation of community and communal spaces. The union hall provides a place for longshoremen to meet and “meet up,” to assemble and disband, individually and in groups.

This paper present the results of a study exploring the longshoreman union hall as place, with particular focus on the International Longshoreman Association’s (ILA) Local #1402 in Tampa, Florida. The results of an ethnographic study focused on the triangulated relationship of the ILA Local #1402 Union Hall, the community surrounding that area, and the impact of demographic changes on the longshoreman community’s sense of place will be presented.

This research contributes to the broader discourse of African American place-making in urban landscapes and suggests that the ability of certain groups to negotiate community through and within specific geographic spaces is often facilitated by their direct and common relationship to the spaces in which their own identity is firmly rooted.
Keywords
  • Ethnography,
  • Ethnographic research,
  • Placemaking,
  • Longshoremen,
  • Florida,
  • African American
Publication Date
February 20, 2014
Citation Information
Tomaro I. Taylor. "Negotiating Community: A Case Study of the International Longshoremen Association’s Union Hall in Tampa" Race and Place: Cultural Landscapes of Black Life in America (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ttaylor/25/