Fishman Grantees 2018

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 2018. 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 2018 awardees are:

John Buchkoski, PhD Candidate, University of Oklahoma
“Speak to the Earth and it Shall Teach Thee: Catholic Nuns, The United Farmworkers Movement, and the Rise of an Environmental Ethic, 1962-1978.” Organizations formed by nuns – including the Leadership Council of Women Religious, the National Assembly of Religious Women, and the National Coalition of American Nuns – supported United Farm Worker strikes by popularizing boycotts across Catholic communities. This research articulates the role that religious women had in grassroots social activism, while also using it to legitimize their goal of female ordination and diaconate. Buchkoski will visit Detroit in May to conduct this research into the Reuther Libraries extensive farm labor collections.

Dr. Dominique Pinsolle, Associate Professor, University of Bordeaux Montaigne
“Rediscovering Sabotage: How an Industrial Concept Became a National Threat in France and the
United States, 1897-1918.” Pinsolle’s research provides a comparative and transnational perspective on sabotage as a labor tactic in the United States and France. In both countries, sabotage was largely advocated by revolutionary syndicalists, though its actual use in practice was adapted differently in local contexts. During Pinsolle’s research visit in May, he will examine historical records of the Industrial Workers of the World held at the Reuther Library to consider the IWW’s attitudes about sabotage and whether they considered it a genuine means to fight capitalism.

Jessica Levy, PhD Candidate, Johns Hopkins University
“Black Power, Inc.: Global American Business and the Post-Apartheid City.” This research examines the rise of black empowerment in the United States and southern Africa in the late twentieth-century. Levy intends to explore the papers of William Lucy, Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME, as well as records of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, seeking to understand how labor leaders pressured American corporations to disinvest their holdings until Apartheid ended, and how the global black freedom struggle impacted domestic issues of empowerment in the United States. Levy will visit Detroit to conduct her research in late May or early June.

Andreas Meyris, PhD Candidate, George Washington University
"Democracy is Sweeping Over the World:" Transnational Radicalism During the "Jazz Age." Meyris’ research deals with American networks of radicalism and reform during the “roaring twenties,” a period generally thought to be lean for labor and progressive action. An examination of the records held at the Reuther Library of the Brookwood Labor College, which operated from 1919-1937 in Katonah, New York, however, reveals active movements for economic reform, particularly concerned with the rise of totalitarianism globally. Brookwood alumni, including Walter Reuther and Rose Pesotta, proved key players in the explosion of industrial unionism in the 1930s. Meyris’ research visit is tentatively scheduled for July.

Kelly Goodman, PhD Candidate, Yale University
“Taxing Limits: The Political Economy of American School Finance.” Goodman’s work follows the political contestation between teachers’ unions and business associations over economic ideas about, and interests in, funding schools through public taxes. Building upon previous work with the Reuther Library’s collection from the American Federation of Teachers, Goodman will expand her research into records of United Auto Workers’ President Walter Reuther, the Detroit Board of Education, and several public sector unions representing teachers in Michigan. Goodman plans to continue this ongoing research during a visit in August.

Jeremy Milloy, Postdoctoral Fellow, Trent University
“Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-95.” Beginning in the 1960s, drug use by workers became a major societal concern in the United States and Canada. Milloy’s research examines the impact addiction had on work, workplace cultures, class consciousness, and class conflict between 1965-95, while also investigating the reverse: how the involvement of North American businesses (through the emergence of employee-assistance programs) influenced concepts of addiction and recovery. During his research visit in August, Milloy intends to work across a range of records from departments within the United Auto Workers.

The Sam Fishman Travel Grant Program operates on an annual basis, with applications due in January each year. The next cycle will be announced in November 2018 with an application deadline in January 2019 and expectation for travel during the 2019 calendar year.

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