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.

Hidden in the Fields: Invisible Agricultural Child Labor in the American Southwest and the Limits of Citizenship



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 to work on American farms today and have limited their access to education. Padilla-Rodríguez explains how advocates fought to enact social welfare initiatives for farmworking children along their migratory route, while teachers and women UFW organizers pursued legislative channels to try to get stricter child labor protections, and special educational and childcare programs created for migrant youth. Padilla-Rodríguez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Columbia University Department of History and a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Latinx Research Center.

Related Collections
Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee Records
Dolores Huerta Papers
Michigan Farm Worker Ministry Coalition Records
National Farm Workers Association Records
National Farm Worker Ministry Records
Ronald B. Taylor Papers
UFW Organizing Committee (UFWOC) Records
UFW Office of the President: Cesar Chavez Records
UFW Texas Records

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Ivón Padilla-Rodríguez
Sound: Troy Eller English

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


Punishing Promise: School Discipline in the Era of Desegregation



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 disciplinary codes, statistics on usage against students, and responses from administrators, teachers, law enforcement, and the community. Kautz is a Ph.D. candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University

Related Collections
AFT Local 231: Detroit Federation of Teachers Records
Detroit Commission on Community Relations (DCCR) / Human Rights Department Records
Detroit Public Schools Community Relations Division Records
Wayne State University College of Education, Dean’s Office: Detroit Public Schools Monitoring Commission on Desegregation Records

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Matt Kautz
Sound: Troy Eller English

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


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

Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir of Wobbly Organizer Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins (Part 2)



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 from the Ukraine was soon undone by the realities of working in garment sweatshops on the East Coast, leading to Matilda Robbins’ brief but influential role as labor organizer for the International Workers of the World from 1912 to 1917.

Related Resources
Exhibit Announcement: “Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman”
Blog: Love Letters
Book: Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the Early Twentieth Century
robbinhenderson.com

Related Collections
Matilda Robbins Papers
Industrial Workers of the World Records
Ben Légère Papers
John Beffel Papers

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Robbin Légère Henderson
Sound: Troy Eller English

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


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

Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir of Wobbly Organizer Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins (Part 1)



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 Early Twentieth Century, explaining how the optimism of a 13-year-old immigrant from the Ukraine was soon undone by the realities of working in garment sweatshops on the East Coast, leading to Matilda Robbins’ brief but influential role as labor organizer for the International Workers of the World from 1912 to 1917.

Related Resources
Exhibit Announcement: “Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman”
Blog: Love Letters
Book: Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the Early Twentieth Century
robbinhenderson.com

Related Collections
Matilda Robbins Papers
Industrial Workers of the World Records
Ben Légère Papers
John Beffel Papers

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Robbin Légère Henderson
Sound: Troy Eller English

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


“You Do It and You Teach It”: 90 Years of Dance at Wayne State



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 Lovell Murray. A pioneer in dance education, Murray’s philosophy, “You do it and you teach it,” was evidenced by the Dance Workshop’s influence on a robust dance program within the Detroit Public Schools well into the 1970s. Powers also describes the bright future of the dance program at Wayne State, with state-of-the-art facilities, an impressive roster of alumni renown as much for their teaching as for their artistry, and well-respected faculty drawing more students to dance than ever before.

Reuther Library archivist Aimee Ergas discusses the photographs, videos, choreographic notes, and other documents contained within the Wayne State Dance Department Records, as well as other robust collections contained within the Michigan Dance Archive at the Walter P. Reuther Library, including the personal papers and teaching notes of Harriet Berg, Denise Szykula, and Genevieve Siegel Schoenberg.

Related Resources
Michigan Dance Archives at the Reuther Library

Related Collections
Wayne State University Dance Department Records
Dance Oral Histories
Detroit Recreation Department Dance Program: Shirley Harbin Records
Michigan Dance Archives: Leslie O’Day Benyo Papers
Michigan Dance Archives: Harriet Berg Papers
Michigan Dance Archives: Marygrove College Department of Dance Records
Michigan Dance Archives: Genevieve Siegel Schoenberger Papers
Michigan Dance Archives: Denise Szykula Papers

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Eva Powers and Aimee Ergas
Sound: Troy Eller English

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


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 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 important network that linked labor journalism with labor feminism and other political issues. Although not central to her current project, Grieve also discusses another famed journalist for the Federated Press, Betty Friedan. Grieve is an associate professor of history at Utah State University.

Related Collections
Carl Haessler Papers
Harvey O’Connor Papers

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Victoria Grieve
Sound: Troy Eller English

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


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



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. Rise Up Detroit is the second website created as part of “The North: Civil Rights and Beyond in Urban America,” an online educational tool conceived of and produced by lawyer and civil rights activist Junius Williams, Esq.

Blackmer is the lead researcher for the Rise Up North project and a Racial Equity Research Fellow at Wayne State University’s Detroit Equity Action Lab.

Related Resources
Rise Up Detroit
Rise Up Newark

Related Collections
Robert “Buddy” Battle III and Marion Battle Papers
James and Grace Lee Boggs Papers
Helen Bowers Papers
Civil Rights Congress of Michigan Records
Kenneth V. and Sheila M. Cockrel Papers
Detroit Commission on Community Relations (DCCR) / Human Rights Department Records
Detroit Revolutionary Movements Records
NAACP Detroit Branch Records
New Detroit, Inc. Records
Ernest Smith Papers

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Peter Blackmer
Sound: Troy Eller English

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


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. In this episode, Milloy considers workplace addiction interventions as a continuation of the encroachment of employers into employees’ private lives. Milloy describes the Reagan administration’s addiction intervention policies in the heavily federally-regulated railroad industry in the 1980s, and across industries the evolution from rehabilitative workplace addiction interventions to more punitive workplace drug testing by the 1990s.

Dr. Milloy is a postdoctoral fellow at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University. His research explores work, violence, addiction, and capitalism in Canada and the United States.

Related Collections
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Records
UAW Chrysler Department Records
UAW President’s Office: Leonard Woodcock Records
UAW Region 1 Records
UAW Vice President’s Office: Irving Bluestone Records
Walter P. Reuther Library Vertical Files Collection

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewer: Meghan Courtney
Interviewee: Jeremy Milloy
Sound: Troy Eller English

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


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. In this episode, Milloy explores the early days of addiction intervention in the workplace through programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and then delves into an experimental, grant-funded UAW program in the 1970s called CHIP – Curb Heroin in Plants. An employee-led initiative, CHIP sought to treat heroin dependence in autoworkers through a combination of counseling and methadone maintenance.

Dr. Milloy is a postdoctoral fellow at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University. His work explores work, violence, addiction, and capitalism in Canada and the United States.

Related Collections
UAW Chrysler Department Records
UAW President’s Office: Leonard Woodcock Records
UAW Region 1 Records
UAW Vice President’s Office: Irving Bluestone Records
Walter P. Reuther Library Vertical Files Collection

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewer: Meghan Courtney
Interviewee: Jeremy Milloy
Sound: Troy Eller English

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


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



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 the government, and the union strategically appealed a ruling in its own favor to preempt and scuttle Southern’s appeal. The founder and president of Southern Airways, Frank Hulse, finally capitulated in September 1962 when an investor in the airline threatened to sell a controlling stake to ALPA to end the strike. Although the longest and costliest strike in ALPA’s history, the union considers the Southern Airways Strike of 1960 as its magna carta, key to protecting the wages of pilots at smaller airline carriers for decades to come.

Related Collections
ALPA President’s Department Records
George Hopkins Papers
Clarence N. Sayen Papers

More Information
Blog post: The Southern Airways strike of 1960: ALPA’s epic battle over fair wages for pilots

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Bart Bealmear
Sound: Troy Eller English

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