Long Live the Arab Worker: A Transnational History of Labor Activism in the Yemeni Diaspora

Neama Alamri
Interdisciplinary Humanities
UC Merced

Through an exploration of archival sources, original oral histories, and literature this dissertation explores the ways in which workers and activists, beginning in the 1930s up until the contemporary moment, strategically drew connections between local challenges in the diaspora with global politics. It interrogates the transnational connections workers in the diaspora made between labor and politics of empire. In an attempt to take on a broader history as opposed to an isolated study, the dissertation chapters take on four different historical moments that vary in time and space. The first will look at the 1930 “ race riot” between white and Yemeni seamen in South Shields, England. The next two focus on the Yemeni community in the U.S. throughout the 1960s-1970s which includes: Yemenis in the United Farm Workers union in California, and Yemeni auto workers and their involvement in the United Auto Workers union in Detroit. The dissertation ends with a contemporary look at how Yemeni American activists mobilized following the “Muslim ban.” By foregrounding experiences of Yemenis, the project hopes to draw connections between labor, activism, and empire while also highlighting the complicated, multifaceted, and often messy realities within histories of social movements.