Arts & Culture » Books Pick

A Discussion with Steve Early on his book Refinery Town At Piedmont Library.

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For more than a century, the Chevron refinery plant has cast an enormous shadow over Richmond. As the city’s largest private employer and occupying nearly 3,000 acres, Richmond politics and economics are tethered to the oil giant. This relationship has burned Richmond, what with ongoing pollution being a significant plight for its citizens. But in the past fifteen years, the debate has shifted, thanks to local activists who pushed back against “Big Oil.” As a result, Richmond politicians mustered the courage and political capital necessary to improve public safety, raise its minimum wage, and fight Chevron over tax disputes in court. Journalist, lawyer, and labor organizer Steve Early details Richmond’s political pivot in his book Refinery Town, and will host a discussion of it at the Piedmont Avenue Library Branch. For those interested in organizing local communities, Early’s book is a recommended tale of local history to draw inspiration from.

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