David Elsila Papers

Accession Number: 
LP002444
Extent: 
2 linear feet (2 SB)
Date: 
1964-1990s, bulk 1968-1990s

David Elsila is an activist, educator, writer, editor, and historian best known for his work involving the labor movement. He notably served as the longtime editor for the UAW’s magazine Solidarity, managing the publication from 1977 to 1998. Before then, he was editor for the American Federation of Teacher’s publications American Teacher and Changing Education. Throughout his diverse career, he also taught journalism courses at Wayne State University, wrote several books on labor history, served as Vice-President of the ACLU of Metropolitan Detroit, was a board member and editor of the Michigan Labor History Society, and received numerous awards for his journalistic and civic accomplishments.

David Elsila’s work with the AFT is the subject of the majority of the collection. Most of these records are internal memorandum for the AFT and its executive committee. The memorandum detail debates over many organizational issues, notably: the clash of Presidents David Selden and Albert Shanker; contentiousness between the AFT administration and the American Teacher editorial staff; and contract issues between the AFT and the Professional Union at Staff Headquarters. Booklets from AFT national conventions along with various items from his time as an officer for the Workers Education Local 189 are other AFT-related materials in the collection. Records from movements and organizations Elsila participated in make up the rest of the collection. These include the Michigan Labor History Tours, the anti-Vietnam War organization Labor for Peace, Michigan Labor Committee on Central America, and the UAW.

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