79 episodes

Archivists and researchers at the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs share stories from its collections about the American labor movement, metropolitan Detroit, and Wayne State University.

Tales from the Reuther Library Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

    • History
    • 5.0 • 21 Ratings

Archivists and researchers at the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs share stories from its collections about the American labor movement, metropolitan Detroit, and Wayne State University.

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

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

    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. Burgin is an assistant professor of history at Dickinson College and author of Organizing Your Own: The White Fight for Black Power in Detroit.

    Related Resources:

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

    Related Collections:

    Mike Hamlin and Joann Castle Papers (LP001946)

    Kenneth V. and Sheila M. Cockrel Papers (UP001379)

    George Crockett Papers (UP000276)

    Detroit Industrial Mission Records (LR000131)

    Ernest Goodman Papers (UP001152)

    New Detroit, Inc. Records (UR000660)

    Rosa L. Parks Papers

    Episode Credits

    Interviewee: Say Burgin

    Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

    Music: Bart Bealmear

    • 38 min
    Hillbilly Highway: Charting White Migration from Appalachia to the Industrial Midwest

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

    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. He explains how the social advancement and marginalization they experienced transformed American culture, the labor movement, and today’s political landscape.

    Dr. Fraser is an assistant professor of History at the University of Miami. His book Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class received an Honorable Mention for the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians.

    Related Resources:

    Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class

    Related Collections:

    Detroit Commission on Community Relations (DCCR) / Human Rights Department Records (UR000267)

    George Roberts Papers (LP000038)

    Lewis B. Larkin Papers (WSP000122)

    Michael Manning Papers (LP000018)

    UAW Local 78 Records (LR000645)

    UAW Local 174 Records (LR000006)

    UAW Oral Histories (LOH002229)

    UAW President’s Office: Homer Martin Records (LR000063)

    UAW President’s Office: Walter P. Reuther Records (LR000261)

    UAW Secretary Treasurer’s Office: George Addes Records (LR000052_Addes)

    Episode Credits

    Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

    Interviewee: Max Fraser

    Music: Bart Bealmear

    • 43 min
    Betty Friedan’s Labor Roots

    Betty Friedan’s Labor Roots

    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. Although Friedan’s activism shaped the American women’s movement in the latter half of the 20th century, Shteir also notes that her pugilistic attitude ignored or antagonized would-be allies, including non-white women and lesbians. Shteir is head of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism in the Theatre School at DePaul University and is the author of Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disrupter, a finalist in the biography category for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

    Related Resources:

    Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disrupter

    Related Collections:

    UAW Women’s Department Records (LR00446)

    UAW Women’s Department: Dorothy Haener Records (LR000848)

    Toni Swanger Papers (UP001777)

    Episode Credits

    Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

    Interviewee: Rachel Shteir

    Music: Bart Bealmear

    • 33 min
    The UAW’s Southern Gamble in Foreign-Owned Factories

    The UAW’s Southern Gamble in Foreign-Owned Factories

    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. Silvia is a professor in the School of International Service at American University and author of The UAW’s Southern Gamble: Organizing Workers at Foreign-Owned Vehicle Plants.

    Related Resources:

    The UAW’s Southern Gamble: Organizing Workers at Foreign-Owned Vehicle Plants

    Related Collections:

    UAW President’s Office: Douglas Fraser Records (LR001116)

    UAW Vice-President’s Office: Donald Ephlin Records (LR001404)

    UAW President’s Office: Howard Young Records (LR001400)

    UAW President’s Office: Owen Bieber Records (LR001270)

    UAW President’s Office: Stephen P. Yokich Records (LR001626)

    Episode Credits

    Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

    Interviewee: Stephen J. Silvia

    Music: Bart Bealmear

    • 57 min
    Detroit Under Fire: Police Violence and Racial Justice in the Civil Rights Era

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

    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. In the process, they also found that “get-tough” policies, investigative arrests, and policing units like STRESS (Stop the Robberies–Enjoy Safe Streets) encouraged police brutality, and that nearly all of the officers involved were exonerated despite approximately two-thirds of the victims being unarmed. They found patterns of racial abuse, including that 79% of the victims were Black, and that the killings were clustered in downtown and midtown Detroit, commercial corridors, and other “color lines” where the predominantly white and predominantly Black areas of the city converged. Beyond these patterns of state violence, the website also documents the activism and resilience of the Black community.









    Lassiter is Professor of History, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, and the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan and director of the Policing and Social Justice HistoryLab, an initiative of the University of Michigan Department of History and the UM Carceral State Project.









    Related Resources:

    Detroit Under Fire: Police Violence, Crime Politics, and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Civil Rights Era

    Related Collections:

    Jerome P. Cavanagh Papers (UP000379)

    Kenneth V. and Sheila M. Cockrel Papers (UP001379)

    Coleman Young Papers (UP000449)

    Detroit Commission on Community Relations (DCCR) / Human Rights Department Records (UR000267)

    NAACP Detroit Branch Records (UR000244)

    Episode Credits

    Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

    Interviewee: Matthew Lassiter

    Music: Bart Bealmear

    • 44 min
    Labor Radical Harry Bridges and the Cold War Ire of the US Government

    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.

    Cherny is professor emeritus at San Francisco State University and author of Harry Bridges: Labor Radical, Labor Legend.

    Related Collections:

    CIO Office of the Secretary-Treasurer Records

    Civil Rights Congress of Michigan Records

    Industrial Workers of the World Records

    M.A. Williams Papers

    Workers’ Defense League Records

    Related Resources:

    Harry Bridges: Labor Radical, Labor Legend

    Episode Credits

    Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

    Interviewee: Robert Cherny

    Music: Bart Bealmear

    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

micallef31 ,

A must

All our guys in our IAFF Local will be listeners. Thanks for this important work.

KG Mich ,

such interesting stories

This is becoming one of my favorite podcasts. Every episode is so interesting, and it is amazing to see the nuanced and detailed histories people can pull out of old books and papers!

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