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“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


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”