Welcome to the Reuther Library's podcast archive. They are arranged by publication date with the most recent on top and the oldest at the bottom.

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[Podcast] Organizing Your Own: The White Fight for Black Power in Detroit

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Say Burgin explains that contrary to the common belief that white activists were purged from the Black freedom movement in the mid-1960 and 1970s, Black-led organizations in Detroit – including the Northern Student Movement, the City-Wide Citizens Action Committee, and the League of Revolutionary Workers—called on white activists to organize within their own white networks to support Black self-determination in education, policing, employment, and labor unions.  read more »

[Podcast] Hillbilly Highway: Charting White Migration from Appalachia to the Industrial Midwest

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Max Fraser shares the often overlooked story of the “hillbilly highway,” the route nearly eight million poor, rural, white Americans took in the 20th century from economically depressed areas in the Southeastern and Southern United States toward higher paying factory jobs in the Upper South and Midwest.  read more »

[Podcast] Betty Friedan's Labor Roots

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Rachel Shteir shares how Betty Friedan’s early experience as a labor reporter for the Federated Press informed her later work as a famed women’s rights activist, author of The Feminine Mystique, and co-founder of the National Organization for Women.  read more »

[Podcast] The UAW’s Southern Gamble in Foreign-Owned Factories

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Stephen Silvia explains how the UAW built a cooperative relationship with workers’ councils and unions at foreign automotive companies, but has nevertheless struggled to organize those companies’ vehicle factories in the southern United States since the 1990s due to anti-labor politics and the companies’ shared anti-union playbooks.  read more »

[Podcast] Detroit Under Fire: Police Violence and Racial Justice in the Civil Rights Era

(26115) Riots, Rebellions, Arrests, West Side, 1967

Dr. Matthew Lassiter shares stories uncovered in Detroit Under Fire: Police Violence, Crime Politics, and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Civil Rights Era, a collaborative digital exhibit created by undergraduate history students documenting nearly 200 civilians killed between 1957 and 1973 by the Detroit Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in the city. Because identifying information was rarely included in official reports or the city’s mainstream media, the students instead searched the archives of local activists and community organizations to identify the victims and the circumstances of their deaths.  read more »

[Podcast] Labor Radical Harry Bridges and the Cold War Ire of the US Government

In the second of a two-part series, Dr. Robert Cherny recounts how immigrant Harry Bridges successfully led the powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) for four decades beginning in the 1930s, even as his militant unionism and association with communists placed him at odds with the American government during the Cold War and at the center of several deportation hearings.  read more »

[Podcast] Labor Legend Harry Bridges and the Pacific Coast Longshore Strike of 1934

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

In the first of a two-part series, Dr. Robert Cherny explains how the early life of Australian immigrant Harry Bridges prepared him to lead the groundbreaking 1934 Pacific Coast longshoremen’s and maritime workers’ strikes in the United States, later becoming the first president of the powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).  read more »

[Podcast] Taming the Octopus: Eli Black and the Search for Social Responsibility at the United Fruit / United Brands Company

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Matt Garcia traces the legacy of Eli Black, a former rabbi who, as CEO of United Fruit/United Brands Company in the late 1960s and early 1970s, attempted to instill corporate social responsibility into the notorious fruit conglomerate before ending his life following a series of business setbacks and looming corruption scandals.  read more »

[Podcast] Latinx Encounters: How Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Puerto Ricans Made the Modern Midwest

(31881) Posters & Graphics, "United Farm Workers Great Lakes Mobilization", 1970s

Dr. Juan I. Mora examines three groups of Latinxs as they used postwar migration, temporary guest-worker programs, and agricultural labor to redefine migrant power, justice, and rights in the twentieth century Midwest, and particularly in Michigan.  read more »

[Podcast] Under the Iron Heel: Repressing the IWW and Free Speech

(46053) Poster, Centralia Conspiracy, Fund Raisers, 1920s

Ahmed White explains how industrialists and government officials in the United States used violence and legal maneuverings to stultify the Industrial Workers of the World and silence its members in the early twentieth century.  read more »

[Podcast] "Girls, We Cannot Lose!": Midwestern Black Women Activists During the Great Depression

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Melissa Ford explores the influence of working-class Black women in Detroit, St. Louis, and Cleveland on the development of Black radicalism in the American Midwest during the Great Depression. Ford is an associate professor of African American history at Slippery Rock University and author of A Brick and a Bible: Black Women's Radical Activism in the Midwest during the Great Depression.  read more »

[Podcast] "No Labor Dictators For Us": Revisiting Anti-Union Forces in the Flint Sit-Down Strike

(3886) Cartoon, Sit Down Strike, rat

While the 1936-1937 Flint Sit-Down is usually viewed as a pivotal success for the UAW, Dr. Gregory Wood considers more closely the influence of anti-union workers and the General Motors-supported Flint Alliance both during and after the strike.  read more »

Heard It On the News: Preserving 20th Century Detroit History Through Local Newscasts

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Reuther Library audiovisual archivist Mary Wallace discusses the Library’s WWJ / WDIV Film, Video, and Teleprompter Scripts collection, which captures seven decades of news, current events, politics, and community life as reported by the Detroit news station from the 1920s through 1990s.  read more »

[Podcast] No Equal Justice: The Legal and Civil Rights Legacy of George W. Crockett Jr.

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Peter Hammer describes the life and legacy of civil rights icon George W. Crockett, Jr. A Black lawyer who fought racism and defended constitutional rights in landmark cases in the 1940s through the 1960s, Crockett brought his ethos to the Detroit Recorder’s Court during his time on the bench from 1966 through 1978, and to his decade of service in the 1980s as a Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives.  read more »

[Podcast] A Miasma of Metals: The Steelworkers’ Environmental Call Following the Donora Smog of 1948

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Louise Milone recounts how smog produced by the southwestern Pennsylvanian steel industry poisoned the air in the Monongahela Valley town of Donora on November 1, 1948, killing more than 22 people and sickening thousands more. Exploring the response of the US Steel Corporation, employees, and Donora residents, Milone explains how the United Steelworkers of America union pushed for an investigation and improved environmental and health and safety regulations following the disaster. Milone is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Georgia Department of History.  read more »

[Podcast] A "Most Conscientious and Considerate Method": Grosse Pointe’s Gross Post-War Housing Point System

(25370) Civil Rights, Demonstrations, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, 1963

Emma Maniere describes how homeowners associations in Grosse Pointe, an affluent suburb bordering Detroit, developed a point system following the Second World War to rank and exclude prospective homebuyers to maintain the community’s Anglo Christian whiteness and affluence. The point system, which ranked nativity and ethnicity, accent, skin tone, and occupation, among other measures, was dismantled in 1960 but left a pernicious legacy that continues to reverberate in the community today. Maniere is a doctoral candidate in the history program at New York University.  read more »

[Podcast] Labor’s End: Automation’s Failed Promise of Freedom

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Jason Resnikoff explains that the rise of automation in the mid-20th century workplace was heralded as a way to free workers from manual labor, but resulted instead in the intensification of human labor and the degradation of workers’ protections and powers. Resnikoff is a core lecturer in the History Department at Columbia University and author of Labor’s End: How the Promise of Automation Degraded Work.  read more »

[Podcast] Detroit vs. Everybody: Exploring Race, Place, and Black Superheroes in DC Comics

(1188) Flyer, Sojourner Truth Housing Project, 1942

Dr. Vincent Haddad explains that while Detroit has often served as the inspiration for crime-ridden settings in comics, DC Comics rose above those stereotypes with black superheroes Amazing-Man in the 1980s series All-Star Squadron and the Cyborg solo series in the 2010s. He describes how those two series represented Detroit and issues of race, policing, and culture in a more historically-informed and nuanced manner.  read more »

[Podcast] Detroit Remains: Using Historical Archeology to Connect Detroit’s Past to Its Present

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Krysta Ryzewski explains how historical archaeology digs at famous Detroit locales – including the Little Harry speakeasy, the Blue Bird Inn, and the Grande Ballroom – have clarified how underrepresented communities of Detroit experienced and responded to the Great Migration, changing economic forces, and a shifting political and social landscape in the 20th century.  read more »

[Podcast] Environmental Activism in Deindustrialized Detroit

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Brandon Ward explains how Detroit residents, community organizations, and the labor movement, alarmed by the pollution remaining in Detroit’s deindustrialized era that mostly heavily impacted Black Americans and the working class, banded together from the 1970s onward to create a healthier, greener, and more livable city.  read more »

[Podcast] Bargaining for the Common Good: Milton Tambor Reflects on 50 Years in Labor and Social Activism

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Labor leader and social activist Milton Tambor discusses his life’s work in Detroit since the 1950s as a social worker; AFSCME local union president, staff representative and assistant education director; and teaching faculty in both labor studies and social work at Wayne State University and other institutions.  read more »

[Podcast] And Many More: Celebrating SEIU’s Centennial in the Archives

(29313) Local 82, Justice for Janitors Demonstration, Baltimore, Maryland, 2001

Reuther Library SEIU archivist Sarah Lebovitz shares highlights from the union’s first 100 years, and explains how its archives at the Reuther Library have supported labor organizing and centennial celebrations.  read more »

[Podcast] Brewing a Boycott: Collective Activism and the Decades-Long Coors Beer Boycott

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Allyson Brantley explains how large and diverse groups joined together for a decades-long consumer boycott of the Coors Brewing Company to fight against its union busting, discriminatory hiring practices, and politics.  read more »

[Podcast] Communists and Community in Wartime Detroit

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Ryan Pettengill explains how communist activists in Detroit worked with labor activists during and after the Second World War to enhance the quality of life in the community by advocating for civil rights, affordable housing, protections for the foreign-born, and more.  read more »

[Podcast] Sandfuture: Exploring Minoru Yamasaki, Lost Humanist Architecture, and the Rise of Sick Buildings and Sick People

(38385) Minoru Yamasaki, World Trade Center, 1964

Artist and author Justin Beal shares the career and legacy of influential yet often forgotten architect Minoru Yamasaki.  read more »

[Podcast] Midnight in Vehicle City: Modern Lessons From the Flint Sit-Down Strike

(3882) Strike calendar, Flint, Michigan

Edward McClelland recounts the gripping details of the Flint sit-down strike, and considers what we can learn today from the strikers’ successful fight for shared prosperity in 1936-1937.  read more »

[Podcast] Blaming Teachers: How America Simultaneously Professionalized and Patronized Education

(29150) Overcrowded Classrooms Split by Chalkboards

Dr. Diana D'Amico Pawlewicz explains how the push to professionalize and standardize educators beginning in the mid-1800s, without granting them decision-making power, has made them the public face of foundering school policies developed and implemented by local school administrators and state and national policymakers.  read more »

[Podcast] From Bargaining Table to Diplomatic Table: Leonard Woodcock in China (Part 2)

(35322) Leonard Woodcock and Deng Xiaoping

After Leonard Woodcock stepped down as president of the UAW in 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter sent him to Beijing as a diplomatic envoy and ultimately as the nation’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. In the second of a two-part interview, his wife Sharon Woodcock talks about Deng Xiaoping's visit to the United States; Leonard Woodcock's work after leaving the State Department, including his work on the Board of Governors of Wayne State University; and his support of the Reuther Library.  read more »

[Podcast] From Bargaining Table to Diplomatic Table: Leonard Woodcock in China (Part 1)

(35322) Leonard Woodcock and Deng Xiaoping

After Leonard Woodcock stepped down as president of the UAW in 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter sent him to Beijing as a diplomatic envoy and ultimately as the nation’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.  read more »

[Podcast] Jane Street and the Rebel Maids of Denver

(46054) Cover Art, Sheet Music, "The Rebel Girl"

Historian Jane Little Botkin explains how Jane Street, a single mother, firebrand, and little-known IWW organizer, orchestrated a 1916 housemaids' rebellion in Denver.  read more »

[Podcast] It's Been a Year: Reuther Library Director Aliqae Geraci Recalls Her First Year on the Job During a Global Pandemic

(46494) Portraits, Aliqae Geraci, 2010s

Aliqae Geraci explains that she had big plans when she became director of the Reuther Library a year ago, and those plans were immediately scuttled when her first day on the job coincided with the first day Wayne State University’s on-campus operations were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  read more »

[Podcast] Bootlegged Aliens: How Undocumented Immigrants from Canada in the 1920s Shaped American Immigration Policy

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Dr. Ashley Johnson Bavery explains how undocumented European immigrants coming over the Canadian border to work in the Detroit auto industry in the 1920s and 1930s spurred nativist discourse, influenced government policies toward illegal immigration, and shaped how business and labor unions used and positioned migrant labor.  read more »

[Podcast] The Long Deep Grudge: How the Haymarket "Riot" of 1886 Evolved into a Bitter Battle Between the Farm Equipment Workers Union and International Harvester in the Mid-Twentieth Century

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Labor historian Dr. Toni Gilpin explores how the McCormick family’s greed and union-busting in the late 19th century set the stage for a bitter battle between the International Harvester corporation and the radical Farm Equipment Workers union in the 1930s and 1940s.  read more »

The Detroit Interracial Committee and Racial Pragmatism, 1944-1950

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Sean Henry discusses the Detroit Interracial Committee’s (IRC) pragmatic attempt to ease racial tensions in the city following the 1943 Detroit riots. Assuming that it could not completely eliminate racial antagonism, the IRC instead used its Community Barometer initiative and the Detroit Public Schools program for intercultural education to identify and manage systemic racial inequities in the city.  read more »

SEIU: A Successful Union in an Era of Labor Decline

(29313) Local 82, Justice for Janitors Demonstration, Baltimore, Maryland, 2001

Dr. Timothy Minchin explores how the SEIU nearly doubled its membership from 1980-1995, during a time of significantly declining numbers in most other American labor unions.  read more »

[Podcast] When It Happened Here: Michigan and the Transnational Development of American Fascism, 1920-1945

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Salaina Catalano Crumb explains how American fascism developed and thrived in Michigan from the 1920s through the 1940s due to the influence of right-wing individuals and organizations swayed by the politics of Nazi Germany, including industrialist Henry Ford, anti-communist clergy members Father Coughlin and Reverend Gerald L.K. Smith, militant secret societies like the Black Legion, and immigrant veterans’ and fascist groups including the German American Bund.  read more »

[Podcast] Reading the Room: How César Chávez’s Early Life Prepared Him to Lead

(229) Cesar Chavez, Childhood, 1942

Dr. Clay Walker explains how César Chávez’s lifeworld discourse – the language, culture, and experiences that shaped who he was and how he encountered and navigated the world – uniquely prepared him to lead the United Farm Workers and effectively communicate his message to a diverse audience.  read more »

Mechanical Engineer To Booth Babe and Back Again: The Tragicomic Career of Wayne State Engineering Alum Lucille Pieti

Lucille Pieti, All Alone With 300 Men, 1954

Society of Women Engineers archivist Troy Eller English shares the tragicomic story of Lucille Pieti, 1950 mechanical engineering alum and Miss Wayne University.  read more »

[Podcast] (Re)Introducing the Michigan Black History Bibliography

Michigan Black History Bibliography Sample Card

Reuther Library field archivist Dr. Louis Jones and former archives students and staff members Mattie Dugan and Allie Penn discuss the Reuther’s Michigan Black History Bibliography (MBHB) and the multi-year, student-led project to digitize a decades-old index card file.  read more »

This Union Cause: The Queer History of the United Automobile Workers

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Wayne State history PhD candidate James McQuaid discusses his research on the gradual cognizance and acceptance of queer autoworkers in the twentieth century, leading toward the UAW’s rapid embrace of LGBTQ-friendly policies and initiatives in the 1990s.  read more »

[Podcast] Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work: Black-Owned Businesses and the Housewives League of Detroit

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Allie Penn explains how her work on a grant-funded digitization project introduced her to the Housewives League of Detroit and led to a digital humanities project mapping Detroit Black-owned businesses from the 1930s through 1950s.  read more »

Creating that “A-Ha!” Moment: Using Archives and Primary Sources to Inspire Active Learning in the Classroom

Reuther Library staff member Meghan Courtney discusses the use of primary resources in research to a visiting classOutreach archivist Meghan Courtney discusses the Reuther Library’s efforts to extend primary source instruction beyond history classes to inspire active learning in the classroom and empower students to become part of scholarly conversations.  read more »

Poorly Described Folders and Human Hair: Processing Report with ALUA Archivist Shae Rafferty

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Shae Rafferty, the Reuther Library’s Labor and Urban Affairs Archivist, explains what happens behind the scenes to get donated collections ready for researchers. She discusses how collections are prioritized for processing, or organizing and describing them to make it easier for researchers to find the information they’re looking for.  read more »

[Podcast] Uncovering Detroit Sound: Sippie Wallace and Son House in the Folklore Archives

Archivist Bart Bealmear explains how he rediscovered recordings of famed African American blues musicians Sippie Wallace and Son House buried in the Reuther Library's Folklore Archives.  read more »

[Podcast] Punishing Promise: School Discipline in the Era of Desegregation

Tales from the Reuther Library Podcast Artwork

Matt Kautz explains how his observations while teaching in Detroit and Chicago led him to study the rise of suspensions and other disciplinary tactics in urban districts during school desegregation, fueling the school-to-prison pipeline.  read more »

[Podcast] Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir of Wobbly Organizer Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins

(5213) Matilda (Rabinowitz) Robbins, Arrest, 1910s

In a two-episode series, artist Robbin Légère Henderson discusses her exhibition of original scratchboard drawings featured in the illustrated and annotated autobiography of Henderson's grandmother, Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins, a Socialist, IWW organizer, feminist, writer, mother, and social worker.  read more »

[Podcast] "You Do It and You Teach It": 90 Years of Dance at Wayne State

Ensemble, Wayne University Dance Workshop, circa 1933-1936

Eva Powers, recently retired associate professor and former chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Dance, shares the fascinating history and bright future of the modern dance program at Wayne State University. One of the longest-running dance programs in the country, it traces its origins to the Dance Workshop, founded in 1928 by Professor Ruth Lovell Murray.  read more »

Labor Feminism in the Federated Press, 1930s through 1950s

Dr. Victoria Grieve shares the lives of five pioneering female journalists of the Federated Press, a labor news service operating in the early and mid-20th century. In addition to their work for the Federated Press, Julia Ruuttila, Jessie Lloyd O’Connor, Virginia Gardner, and Miriam Kolkin also participated in leftist social and political movements, forming an important network that linked labor journalism with labor feminism and other political issues.  read more »

[Podcast] Rise Up Detroit: Stories from the African American Struggle for Power

(DN_1127_1) NAACP, Pickets, Housing Discrimination, Detroit, 1963

Dr. Peter Blackmer discusses the launch of Rise Up Detroit (www.riseupdetroit.org), a website documenting the stories of activists in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements in Detroit. The website uses extensive oral history interviews and extensive archival resources from the Walter P. Reuther Library and other archives in the region to teach audiences of all ages about social justice issues through the history of the African American struggle for power.  read more »

[Podcast] Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-1995 (Part 2)

This is the second of a two-part interview with Dr. Jeremy Milloy about his forthcoming book, "Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-95," which explores the evolution of alcohol and drug addiction interventions in the workplace in the latter half of the 20th century.  read more »

[Podcast] Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-1995 (Part 1)

This is the first of a two-part interview with Dr. Jeremy Milloy about his forthcoming book, "Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-95," which explores the evolution of alcohol and drug addiction interventions in the workplace in the latter half of the 20th century.  read more »

[Podcast] The Southern Airways Strike of 1960: ALPA’s Epic Battle Over Fair Pilot Wages

(34247) ALPA, Southern Airways Strike, 1960s

Air Line Pilots Association archivist Bart Bealmear shares the history of ALPA's shrewd 1960 strike against regional carrier Southern Airways over pilot wages.  read more »

(Podcast) “Our Mothers Were the Shining Stars:” Perspectives on the Founders of the Society of Women Engineers, From a Daughter Who Grew Up Among Them

Alexis Jetter discusses her long-running project, a memoir unraveling the life and death of her mother Evelyn Jetter, a physicist, engineer, and in 1950 a founder of the Society of Women Engineers. After writing a master's thesis and article in the 1980s that explored whether her mother's death at age 52 was caused by her work with radiation at the Atomic Energy Commission and other companies — from the 1940s through 1970s — Alexis felt a growing desire to better understand Evelyn's career in relation to her private life.  read more »

Podcast: From the Vault: Metalsmith and Professor Phillip Fike and the Wayne State Academic Mace

Wayne State University Mace

In anticipation of the upcoming Wayne State University graduation ceremonies, University Art Curator Grace Serra and University Archivist Alison Stankrauff share the history of the university's academic mace, a ceremonial and symbolic object carried during commencement exercises and other important events.  read more »

Podcast: "Taxing Limits: The Political Economy of American School Finance"

(12169) Arthur Elder

Kelly Goodman speaks about the political history of funding education through local and state taxes. Having worked as a data analyst for the Detroit public schools, Goodman pursued graduate school to explore the structural issues surrounding questions she often found herself asking: why are some schools perceived to be bad? Why do some schools receive less funding than others? How does the economy work, and for whom?  read more »

(Podcast) Reevaluating Comparable Worth: AFSCME's Pay Equity Campaigns of Yesteryear and Today

(7501) Pay equity strike, San Jose, CA

In celebration of Equal Pay Day on April 2, 2019, podcast host and American Federation of Teachers archivist Dan Golodner recounts a time 100 years ago when male teachers tried, and failed, to prevent female teachers from seeking pay equity with their male peers. AFSCME archivist Stefanie Caloia discusses AFSCME's groundbreaking equal pay campaigns for public employees in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Local 101 in San Jose, California and Council 28 in Washington state.  read more »

(Podcast) Documenting the Now: SEIU Archivist Sarah Lebovitz on Using Archives to Empower the Future

Sarah Lebovitz, SEIU Archivist, 2018

SEIU archivist Sarah Lebovitz explains how her background in anthropology informs her work as an archivist, preserving and revealing the experiences of underrepresented groups.  read more »

(Podcast) Dirty Socks, Goose Fat, and Hot Toddies: Cold Remedies from the Folklore Archive

Reuther Library archivists Elizabeth Clemens and Dan Golodner raise a glass for the regional and ethnic cold remedies collected in the Reuther's extensive Folklore Archive, including whiskey, honey, lemon, hot toddies, goose fat poultices, the color red, horehound, catnip tea, dirty socks, and the more dangerous turpentine and kerosene -- don't try those at home!  read more »

Podcast: “Long Memory is the Most Radical Idea in America” Field Report from Reuther Collections Gatherer Louis Jones

(28587) Louis Jones

Dr. Louis Jones discusses his work in building relationships to bring records into the Reuther Library documenting the American labor movement, civil rights, and the history of metropolitan Detroit. He explains how he brought three recent acquisitions into the Reuther Library: the papers of labor activist and folk singer Utah Phillips; the business records of civil rights organization NAACP Detroit; and the records of LGBT Detroit, an organization working to support and advocate for Detroit’s LGBT community.  read more »

Podcast: "Democracy is Sweeping Over the World:" Brookwood Labor College at the Nexus of Transnational Radicalism in the Jazz Age

(6199) Brookwood Labor College; Class Meetings

While the 1920s are often described as "lean years" of progressive action, Andreas Meyris explains how the Brookwood Labor College in Katonah, New York served as a conduit for transnational radicalism in the 1920s while also training labor journalists and up-and-coming labor leaders like Walter Reuther and Rose Pesotta, setting the stage for the explosion of industrial unionism during the 1930s.  read more »

Podcast: The First Noel (Night): How the Public Found Its Detroit Adventure in Noel Night, The City's Festive Cultural Open House

Detroit Adventure, Noel Night advertisement, 1973

Outreach archivist Meghan Courtney traces the evolution of Detroit Adventure, a coalition of cultural organizations founded in 1958 to promote cultural conversations and experiences in metropolitan Detroit. In 1973 the organization debuted Noel Night, a free holiday open house in Detroit's cultural center.  read more »

Podcast: Speak to the Earth and it Shall Teach Thee: Catholic Nuns, the United Farm Workers Movement, and the Rise of an Environmental Ethic, 1962-1978

(38505) Fast for Non-Violence, Catholic Church, California, 1968

John Buchkoski explores the role that religious women had in grassroots social activism in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly organizations of Catholic women religious. He explains how these groups supported United Farm Worker strikes by publicizing the environmental and health effects of pesticide use and popularizing produce boycotts across Catholic communities. Buchkoski is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oklahoma.  read more »

Podcast: Halloween Spooktacular - Supernatural Stories from Detroit Folklore

(37226) Folklore Archive; Index Cards

Archivist Elizabeth Clemens shares spooky stories from the Reuther Library's Folklore Archives about Le Loup Garou, or the Werewolf of Grosse Pointe; the Ghost of Tanglewood Bridge on Detroit's Belle Isle; hauntings at home; and a helpful witch on Detroit's McClellan Street who fetched groceries and hung her skin on the wall. Archivist Bart Bealmear reminds us of Gundella the Green Witch, a local personality with an advice column in Detroit-area newspapers in the 1970s and 1980s.  read more »

Podcast: International Architect Minoru Yamasaki’s Impact on the Wayne State Campus

College of Education and McGregor Memorial Conference Center Reflecting Pool, 1961

Reuther Library archivist Shae Rafferty discusses the career of Minoru Yamasaki, renown architect of the original World Trade Center, the Dhahran International Airport in Saudi Arabia, as well as many buildings in the metropolitan Detroit area. University archivist Alison Stankrauff shares the history and design of four Yamasaki buildings on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit.  read more »

Podcast: 1933 Chicago Teachers Walkout: That Time Teachers Rioted With Textbooks and Rulers

Chicago Teachers' Union (CTU), demonstration, Chicago, Illinois

American Federation of Teachers archivist Dan Golodner tells ALPA archivist and guest host Bart Bealmear about the 1933 Chicago Teachers Walkout, when Chicago teachers joined together to demand that they be paid in actual money and on time, rather than in scrip that wasn’t honored by local businesses and banks during the Great Depression.  read more »

Podcast: Assembly Line Housing: Walter P. Reuther, George Romney, and Operation Breakthrough – Part 2

(28771) Detroit Housing Has not Kept Up with Population

In the second of a two-part series, Dr. Kristin M. Szylvian explains how racial segregation and the fear of declining property values ultimately scuttled Operation Breakthrough, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Program early in the Nixon administration to use union-made manufactured housing to create racially- and economically-integrated housing communities throughout the country.  read more »

Podcast: Assembly Line Housing: Walter P. Reuther, George Romney, and Operation Breakthrough – Part 1

In the first of a two-part series, Dr. Kristin Szylvian explains the role of the American labor movement, and UAW president Walter Reuther in particular, in lobbying for and shaping fair housing programs and legislation in Detroit and nationally after the Second World War. That influence paved the way for an unlikely alliance in the 1960s between Reuther and George Romney, the former Republican governor of Michigan, when they joined together in the late 1960s to launch Operation Breakthrough, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program to use union-made manufactured housing to alleviate the housing crisis in minority communities while also creating job opportunities and encouraging racial and income integration in the larger community.  read more »

Podcast: I Am A Man: Photographer Richard Copley Recalls His First Assignment, 50 Years After the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers' Strike

(8885) I AM a Man

AFSCME archivist Stefanie Caloia shares photographer Richard Copley's story of his very first and what he considers his most important assignment covering the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers' Strike and, ultimately, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination and memorial march.  read more »

Podcast: Jessica Levy on "Black Power, Inc.: Global American Business and the Post-Apartheid City"

Jessica Levy explains how American corporations and black entrepreneurs worked together to forge a new politics linking American business with black liberation at home and abroad, focusing particularly on Leon Howard Sullivan, a civil rights leader and board member of General Motors  read more »

Podcast: American Labor's Anti-Apartheid Movement and Nelson Mandela's 1990 U.S. Tour

Meghan Courtney, Reuther Library archivist, discusses Nelson Mandela's 1990 visit to the U.S. as well as his long-term relationship with the American Labor Movement during his time in prison and after his release.

Mandela's 12 day, 8 city fundraising tour in June 1990 took place just months after his release from 27 years in a South African prison and included visits to the AFL-CIO, AFSCME's convention, UAW Local 600 and Tiger Stadium.

Courtney explores Mandela's philosophical alignment with the labor movement,  read more »

Podcast: Julia Gunn on Civil Rights Anti-Unionism: Charlotte and the Remaking of Anti-Labor Politics in the Modern South

Dr. Julia Gunn explains how progressive civil rights politics enabled Charlotte, North Carolina, to become the nation’s second-largest largest financial capital while obscuring its intransigence towards working-class protest, including public sector sanitation workers, bus drivers, firefighters, and domestic workers.  read more »

Dawn Mabalon on UFW labor organizer Larry Itliong – Part 2

In part 2 of our interview with Dawn Mabalon, she explains how her personal and familial interests influenced her research on the life and work of United Farm Workers labor organizer Larry Itliong, as well as her forthcoming children’s book, Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong.  read more »

Dawn Mabalon on UFW labor organizer Larry Itliong – Part 1

In this inaugural episode of Tales from the Reuther Library, Dawn Mabalon, an Associate Professor at San Francisco State University, shares her research on the life and work of Larry Itliong, a Filipino leader of California’s farm labor movement.  read more »

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