2016 Sam Fishman Travel Grant Recipients

The Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University is pleased to announce the awards from the Sam Fishman Travel Grant program for 2016. These annual grants provide up to $1,000 to support travel to the Reuther Library to access archival records related to the American labor movement. The award is named in honor of Sam Fishman, a former UAW and Michigan AFL-CIO leader.

As part of their research visits, awardees are invited to speak about their work at an informal event at the Reuther Library or as part of the North American Labor History Conference (NALHC) held on the Wayne State University campus in the fall. Watch for details of these events as individuals finalize their travel and research plans.

The 2016 awardees are:

Neama Alamri, Doctoral Student, University of California, Merced
“Labor Resistance and Arab Nationalism: Yemeni Americans the Farm Worker Movement.” Research examining the history of Yemeni farm workers in California and their role in the UFW and the farm worker movement throughout the 1960s and 1970s with a specific emphasis on Arab nationalism.
Alamri will visit Detroit in June or in October in conjunction with the North American Labor History Conference if he has a paper accepted at NALHC.

Marcus Cederstrom, Doctoral Candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“The Life and Times of a Swedish Immigrant: Signe Aurell’s Working Words.” Research on the activities of Signe Aurell, Swedish laundress, labor activist, and writer. The project explores the significant role of Scandinavian women in temperance and labor movements and their work to record working-class immigrant experiences. Cederstrom will visit the Wayne State University campus the week of March 14 and will present on his research at 12:00 noon on Thursday, March 17, in the Reuther Library.

Lindsay Helfman, Doctoral Candidate, Temple University
“Collateral Damage: Detroit, HUD, and the Mortgage Crisis of the 1970s.” Project examines the implementation of fair and affordable housing legislation in Detroit following the city’s devastating 1967 riot/uprising. In particular, the research considers the role of labor in supporting – and sometimes resisting – creative approaches to lower costs and increase the speed of new housing construction. Helfman will be conducting research throughout the spring and summer.

William Seth LaShier, Doctoral Candidate, George Washington University
“The Black Freedom Movement and the Politics of Work in Sunbelt Atlanta, 1960-1980.” LaShier’s research focuses on the ways that African American civil rights activists, politicians, and workers approached the politics of work in Atlanta, Georgia, including efforts to end discrimination in hiring and promotional practices, and the efforts to improve working conditions and wages. He is planning a research visit to Detroit in late May.

Dr. Stephen McFarland, Assistant Professor, University of Tampa
“Putting Labor on the Map: Working Class Cartography in the U.S.” This project seeks to assemble and reckon with the cartographic traces of the U.S. labor movement. Maps that unions made help to visualize the circumstances in which they organized and shed light on how unions conceived of and assembled spatial knowledge of the labor landscape. Dr. McFarland expects his research to take place in mid-June.

Joel Suarez, Doctoral Student, Princeton University
“Work and the American Moral Imagination, 1940-1996.” This research examining the values ascribed to work in the wake of its transformation in the latter half of the twentieth century. It explores how workers themselves thought about work, what meaning they derived from it and what values they ascribed to it, and how this all changed over time. Suarez plans to visit the Reuther Library at the end of March.

Jennifer Terry, Doctoral Candidate, University of California Berkeley
“Making Believe: The Business of Denying Child Labor in America.” This project examines the impact of the exemption for child labor given to the commercial agricultural industry in the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. Lack of protection resulted in exploitative child labor practices, including pesticide exposure, substandard housing and poor educational opportunities. Terry plans to coordinate her visit with the NALHC in October.

Dr. Gregory Wood, Associate Professor, Frostburg State University
“GM Never Surrendered: Anti-Union Politics on Shop Floors in the Unionized Auto Industry, 1960-1980.” Dr. Wood’s research highlights the presence of antiunion culture at two General Motors factories in Pontiac, Michigan, and Van Nuys, California, showing that shop floors of unionized plants continued as battlegrounds over the status and presence of organized labor well beyond the turbulent 1930s and 1940s. He plans to visit in July and then return in October in conjunction with the NALHC conference.

The Sam Fishman Travel Grant Program operates on an annual basis, with applications due in January each year. Announcements for the 2017 application process will be announced in November 2016 with an application deadline in January 2017.

For further information about the Sam Fishman Travel Grant Program, please contact Erik Nordberg, Reuther Library Director, by phone at 313-577-2013 or by e-mail at erik.nordberg@wayne.edu.