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. One of the most famous female blues vocalists in the 1920s, Sippie Wallace left the blues stage for four decades, choosing instead to sing and play the organ at … Continue reading Uncovering Detroit Sound: Sippie Wallace and Son House in the Folklore Archives →
Ivón Padilla-Rodríguez explains how labor laws helped define the modern boundaries of childhood and citizenship for both internationally and domestically migrant Latinx children working on American farms. Despite the child labor ban supposedly implemented in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act and later laws, legal loopholes have allowed migrant Latinx children to … Continue reading Hidden in the Fields: Invisible Agricultural Child Labor in the American Southwest and the Limits...
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. His research has focused particularly on Boston, Detroit, and Louisville during court-ordered desegregation, for which there is ample documentation of school … Continue reading Punishing Promise: School Discipline in the Era of Desegregation →
In the second of a two-episode series, artist Robbin Légère Henderson discusses the life of her grandmother, Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins, a Socialist, IWW organizer, feminist, writer, mother, and social worker. Henderson shares stories from Robbins’ autobiography, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the Early Twentieth Century, explaining how the optimism of a 13-year-old immigrant … Continue reading Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir of Wobbly Organizer Matilda Rabinowitz...
In the first of 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. Henderson shares stories from Robbins’ autobiography, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the … Continue reading Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir of Wobbly Organizer...
Eva Powers, recently retired associate professor and former chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Dance, share 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 … Continue reading “You Do It and You Teach It”: 90 Years of Dance at Wayne State →
Dr. Victoria Grieve shares the lives of five pioneering female journalists of the Federated Press, a labor news service operating from the 1930s through the 1950s. 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 … Continue reading Labor Feminism in the Federated Press, 1930s through 1950s →
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 … Continue reading Rise Up Detroit: Stories from the African American Struggle for Power →
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. In this episode, Milloy considers workplace addiction … Continue reading Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-1995 (Part 2) →
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. In this episode, Milloy explores the early … Continue reading Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-1995 (Part 1) →
Air Line Pilots Association archivist Bart Bealmear shares the history of ALPA’s shrewd 1960 strike against regional carrier Southern Airways over pilot wages. The strike began on June 5, 1960 and launched a costly two-year legal and tactical battle in which ALPA created its own competitor airline, Southern hired poorly-qualified scab pilots funded partially by … Continue reading The Southern Airways Strike of 1960: ALPA’s Epic Battle Over Fair Pilot Wages →
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 … Continue reading “Our Mothers Were the Shining Stars:” Perspectives on the Founders of the Society of Women Engineers, From a Daughter Who Grew Up Among Them →
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. The first mace, commissioned in the 1950s, has been lost to the ages. A … Continue reading From the Vault: Metalsmith and Professor Phillip Fike and the Wayne State Academic Mace →
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 … Continue reading “Taxing Limits: The Political Economy of American School Finance” →
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 bargaining for pay equity with their male peers. AFSCME archivist Stefanie Caloia discusses AFSCME’s groundbreaking equal pay campaigns … Continue reading Reevaluating Comparable Worth: AFSCME’s Pay Equity Campaigns of Yesteryear and Today →
SEIU archivist Sarah Lebovitz explains how her background in anthropology informs her work as an archivist, preserving and revealing the experiences of underrepresented groups. She recounts successful SEIU actions including the implementation of needlestick protocol for healthcare workers and the organization of women office workers in SEIU District 925, which served as inspiration for the … Continue reading Documenting the Now: SEIU Archivist Sarah Lebovitz on Using Archives to Empower the...
Labor and Urban Affairs archivist Shae Rafferty shares how Maryann Mahaffey’s college summer job as recreation director at the Poston Japanese internment camp in Arizona in 1945 strengthened her resolve to fight against discrimination and help those in need later in her career in social work. In Detroit, Mahaffey created a tenants’ council while program … Continue reading “She Never Gave Up on This City:” Remembering Firebrand Detroit City Councilwoman Maryann Mahaffey →
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! … Continue reading Dirty Socks, Goose Fat, and Hot Toddies: Cold Remedies from the Folklore Archive →
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 … Continue reading “Long Memory is the Most Radical Idea in America:” Field Report from Reuther Collections Gatherer Louis Jones →
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 … Continue reading “Democracy is Sweeping Over the World:” Brookwood Labor College at the Nexus of Transnational Radicalism in the Jazz...