All posts by Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

About Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

The Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs was established as the Labor History Archives at Wayne State University in 1960, with the goal of collecting and preserving original source materials relating to the development of the American labor movement. In 1975, the Walter P. Reuther Library was constructed with funds given to Wayne State University by the United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, and through a supplementary grant from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. A later gift from the UAW funded the construction of the library's Leonard Woodcock Wing, completed in 1991. The Reuther Library is the largest labor archives in North America and is home to the collections of numerous unions and labor-related organizations. Its collection strengths extend to the political and community life of urban and metropolitan Detroit, the civil rights movement in Michigan and nationally, and women's struggles in the workplace. The Reuther Library is also the home of the Wayne State University Archives, established by the Board of Governors in 1958 in recognition of the importance and permanent value of the University's official files, records, and documents.

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



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.

Meyris is a PhD candidate at the George Washington University, specializing in American labor and political history. He received a Sam Fishman Travel Grant in 2018 to examine the Brookwood Labor College Records at the Reuther Library in support of his dissertation, “Democracy is Sweeping Over the World:” Transnational Radicalism During the “Jazz Age.” Meyris explores in his dissertation American networks of radicalism and reform during the “roaring twenties,” a period generally thought to be lean for labor and progressive action. However, Brookwood created active movements for economic reform, by keeping in close contact with labor colleges abroad, hosting foreign labor leaders, teaching courses in comparative labor and political studies, and specifically inviting speakers who warned of the dangers of fascism in Germany and Italy.

Related Collections
Brookwood Labor College Records
Brookwood Labor College: Mark and Helen Norton Starr Papers
The Brookwood Review

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewer: Meghan Courtney
Interviewee: Kristin M. Szylvian
Sound: Troy Eller English
With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


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



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. Now run by Midtown Detroit, Inc., Noel Night features: performances and family activities at Detroit’s midtown museums, churches, and venues; holiday shopping; food; horse-drawn carriage rides; and more. Courtney offers a sneak preview of the Reuther Library’s contributions to the 46th Noel Night on December 1, 2018: live labor- and holiday-themed music from our talented University Library System musicians; story time with children’s books from the ULS Special Collections department; Hanukkah games; festive archives-inspired crafts and photobooth opportunities; snacks and hot chocolate; and modern indoor plumbing. All for free!

More Information
NoelNight.org
Reuther Library Subject Focus: Detroit Adventure and the First Noel Night

Related Collections
Richard McGhee Papers
Wayne State University Office of the President Clarence B. Hilberry Records
Detroit Public Library Burton Historical Collections: Detroit Adventure Records, 1958-1980

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Meghan Courtney
Sound: Troy Eller English
Music: Bart Bealmear

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


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



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.

Related Collections
Reverend James Drake Papers
Reverend Victor P. Salandini Papers
National Farm Worker Ministry Records
Michigan Farm Worker Ministry Coalition Records
UFW Illinois Boycott: Chicago Office Records
UFW Ohio Boycott Records
UFW Central Administration Records
UFW Administration Department Records

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: John Buchkoski
Sound: Troy Eller English
Music: Bart Bealmear

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


A view of the Folklore Archive index card cabinet.

Halloween Spooktacular: Supernatural Stories from Detroit Folklore



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.

More Information
Folklore Fridays: Halloween Edition
Gundella, The Green Witch of Detroit Explains How to Cast Spells

Related Collections
Folklore Archive
Virtual Motor City: Mario Kuclo / Gundella the Green Witch images

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Bart Bealmear and Elizabeth Clemens
Sound: Troy Eller English
Music: Cely Grande, “Scary Night (scary hip-hop instrumental)”

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


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



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, and 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.

Related Collections:

Minoru Yamasaki Papers

Wayne State University Office of the President Clarence B. Hilberry Records

Wayne State University Office of the President William Rea Keast Records

Wayne State University College of Education Building Committee Records

Collection Spotlight: Minoru Yamasaki’s Campus Buildings

 

Images

Wayne State University – Events

Wayne State University – Places

Virtual Motor City

 

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Dan Golodner

Interviewees: Shae Rafferty and Alison Stankrauff

Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


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



American Federation of Teachers archivist Dan Golodner tells 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. Paid only nine times in four years because property taxes meant to fund Chicago schools were withheld by corrupt businesses, banks, and school board members, students and teachers staged public demonstrations on the streets and in bank lobbies, ultimately shaming the banks into releasing school funds and the school board into issuing consistent paychecks.

Related Collections

AFT Inventory Part I Records

AFT Inventory Part II Records

American Federation of Teachers Publications

Mary J. Herrick Papers

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Bart Bealmear

Interviewee: Dan Golodner

Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace

 

 

 

 


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



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. She argues that Walter Reuther and programs like Operation Breakthrough, despite its collapse, have shown that non-profit and cooperative housing can be used to create home security in disadvantaged communities, especially in the lingering wake of the home finance crisis of 2007.

 

Related Collections

UAW President’s Office: Walter P. Reuther Records

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Dan Golodner

Interviewee: Kristin M. Szylvian

Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


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.

 

Related Collections

UAW President’s Office: Walter P. Reuther Records

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Dan Golodner

Interviewee: Kristin M. Szylvian

Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


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



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.

Related Collections

AFSCME Local 1733 Records

AFSCME Office of the President: Jerry Wurf Records

1968 Sanitation Workers Strike Image Gallery

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Dan Golodner

Interviewee: Stefanie Caloia, excerpts from Richard Copley

Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


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 who used his position to influence American corporate anti-apartheid actions.

Levy is a PhD Candidate at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Continue reading Jessica Levy on “Black Power, Inc.: Global American Business and the Post-Apartheid City”