Event: “Assembly Line Housing: Walter P. Reuther, George Romney and Operation Breakthrough”

Kristin M. Szylvian, Associate Professor of History and LIS at St. John's University in New York, will discuss conflicts between federal housing agencies and organized labor concerning prefabricated housing. In the late 1960s, the federal government explored factory-built dwellings as affordable options for working people. Labor unions were challenged to balance their own progressive goals for fair housing and desegregation with the protection of traditional approaches to home construction and trades labor. As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard Nixon, former Michigan Governor George Romney played a key role in the situation. This research draws on papers of UAW President Walter Reuther and other records pertaining to fair housing held at the Reuther Library.

Szylvian’s research visit is supported through a Sam Fishman Travel Grant, which provides up to $1,000 for scholars to support travel to Detroit to access archival records of the American labor movement in the Reuther Library. The award is named in honor of Sam Fishman, a former UAW and Michigan AFL-CIO leader.

Feel free to bring a lunch and your questions about Ms. Szylvian’s research.

Wednesday, November 8, 12:00-1:00
Reuther Conference Room
Walter P. Reuther Library
5401 Cass Ave. Detroit Michigan
Please call 313.577.4024 with questions.