Max Geier will talk about the themes raised in his book "The Color of Night: Race, Railroaders, and Murder in the Wartime West.” On one level a murder mystery, the book explores the changing labor, legal, and social conditions affecting working people during World War II.
When a young woman was found murdered on a train passing through Oregon during WWII, public and private governing authorities orchestrated an investigation and trial that effectively disrupted the labor organizing efforts of a young firebrand in the Civil Rights community of southern California. The trial, located in Albany, Oregon, however, also energized Civil Rights activists in Oregon and beyond. The story ended badly for the young cook accused of the murder, but it illuminates the experience of wage-earning railroad workers struggling to cope with the racialized and militarized conditions of the wartime West.
Max Geier is a professor of history, emeritus, at Western Oregon University. His work specializes in the history of community development in the North American West with a particular focus on the Pacific Northwest.
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