The history of technology in the United States is inextricably related to Negro labor and business conditions. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the country was characterized by its rural and agricultural nature. With the advent of mass production, a steady and inexorable shift occurred, resulting in an urban, industrial society with many people leaving Eastern and Southern farms and towns and migrating to Northern and Western cities.
As more and more white unions gained entrance into the AFL, more and more Negroes lost jobs and the opportunity to enter others. Astute observers of the time noted that Negroes were being excluded from occupations which they once held under slavery, that Negroes were being segregated into separate locals in trades where whites and Blacks formerly worked side by side, and that the economic plight of the Black was growing worse while unionism advanced.