In Charleston, South Carolina, black longshoremen run the port’s cargo operation. They are members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, a powerful labor union, and Kenny Riley is the charismatic leader of the Charleston local. Riley combines commitment to the civil rights movement with the practicality to ensure that Charleston remains a principal East Coast port. He emerged on the international stage in 2000, rallying union members worldwide to the defense of “The Charleston Five,” longshoremen arrested after a confrontation with police turned violent. This is Riley’s story as well as a behind-the-scenes look at organized black labor in a Deep South port.
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