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Mark Your Calendar: Labor History Events 2013
Michigan Labor History Society Annual Meeting and Bus Tour
The annual meeting of the Michigan Labor History Society will take place on Saturday, May 18, and will feature a free labor history bus tour of lower Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. Experienced guides will discuss labor history with stops for participants to get off at Grand Circus Park, the old Woolworth’s five-and-dime store on Woodward near Grand River, Cadillac Square, and the Labor Legacy Landmark at Hart Plaza. Time permitting, there will also be a chance to visit the Underground Railroad monument on the Detroit riverfront. A similar tour last October drew enthusiastic accolades from those who participated.
The tour bus will leave promptly at 10 a.m. from the parking lot behind the AFSCME building at 600 W. Lafayette in Detroit (entrance off Third Ave. just north of Lafayette). There is ample free parking at the lot. The bus will return at 12 noon and the annual business meeting of the Society will take place immediately afterward. There is no charge for the tour, but space is limited to the first 42 people who sign up. To reserve a place, please send an e-mail message to: Michlabor@aol.com or leave a message at 1-(313)-690-1053.
Motor City Muse Photo Show
A photo exhibit including the works of labor photographer Russ Marshall, with many workplace pictures shot in UAW and Steelworkers plants, is at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5400 Woodward, through June 16, 2013. The museum is open Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
‘The Eyes of the World Were Watching’ and ‘For the Good of All: The Labor Movement in America’
Permanent exhibits on the 1937 Newton steel strike in Monroe, Michigan, and on the history of U.S. labor continue at the Monroe County Labor History Museum, 41 W. Front St., Monroe. Saturdays, 2-5 p.m. You can get more information and see photos at Monroe County Labor History Museum.
Labor and New Deal Art
An exhibit of nearly 50 prints from the 1930s by Hugo Gellert, Paul Meltsner, and others, timed to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Little Steel Strike (which included Monroe’s Newton steel plant) is on display at the Massillon, Ohio, Museum, 121 Lincoln Way East, Massillon. The museum is open Tuesdays-Saturdays 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays, 2-5 p.m. Through June 2.
Upper Peninsula History Conference
The 2013 Upper Peninsula History Conference will put a spotlight on the 1913 copper strike and the Italian Hall tragedy when it meets June 28-30 in Houghton. For details and registration information, visit the website of the Historical Society of Michigan at www.hsmichigan.org and click on “conferences.”
Labor Day Mobilization Luncheon
The Michigan Labor History Society’s annual Labor Day Mobilization Luncheon will be held starting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 21, at IBEW Local 58 Hall in Detroit. For tickets and information, please call Tenise Hill, 1-(313)-961-0800.
2013 Labor Day Parade
Detroit’s annual Labor Day parade will form at Michigan and Trumbull and march along Michigan Ave. to downtown Detroit Monday morning, Sept. 2. For details, contact the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, 1-(313)-961-0800.
“Geographies of Labor” is the theme of the 2013 North American Labor History Conference Oct. 24-26 at Wayne State University in Detroit. Participants will discuss how workers have interacted with a variety of geographic categories such as empire, globalization, uneven development, mobility, and migration and immigration at the transnational, national, and/or local levels. Proposals for papers, panels, and roundtables in the form of a one-paragraph abstract, and brief biographies of participants, may be submitted by May 31 to NALHC coordinator Prof. Francis Shor, WSU History Department., 3157 Faculty Administration Bldg., Detroit MI 48202 or email: North American Labor History Conference
Take a Walk Down Woodward
Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit offers visitors an opportunity to learn about major labor history events.
Starting at Grand Circus Park at Woodward and Adams, and continuing for about a mile south to the riverfront, visitors will walk past historic Central United Methodist Church; the statue of the “idol of the people,” Mayor Hazen Pingree; the site of the 1937 sit-down strike at the old Woolworth’s 5-and-dime; Cadillac Square, which has been the scene of many demonstrations and rallies over the years; and Hart Plaza, at the riverfront, home to the Labor Legacy landmark, “Transcending,” and the Underground Railroad monument.
You can take a self-guided tour in about an hour, starting at Grand Circus Park, and then catch a bus to take you back to your starting point. Download the tour from this website by going to the “Labor History” section. Under “Newsletter, Papers, Talks,” you’ll see the Summer 2011 edition of the MLHS newsletter, “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” where you’ll find an annotated description of major sites along Woodward. Enjoy your walk!
New Labor Legacy Signs
Ever since it was installed in 2003, the Labor Legacy Landmark, or “Transcending,” on West Jefferson Ave. just west of Woodward Ave. in downtown Detroit has been seen by thousands of visitors from all over the world. A 62-foot-high pair of stainless-steel arcs is surrounded by bronze bas-relief sculptures that tell stories of local labor and social history and that honor working men and women in many different occupations. A raised dais incorporates dozens of quotations from many men and women — including the classic statement by former hotel workers’ president Myra Wolfgang: “Women were in Labor Before Men Were Born.”
Now, two new signs calling attention to the landmark have been erected, so that pedestrians and drivers on Jefferson Ave. will be introduced to the purpose of “Transcending.” A similar sign faces Hart Plaza and the river, welcoming visitors to the plaza into the landmark area.
A photo of “Transcending” appears on the cover of one of the Detroit road atlases and several photographs are included in the National Geographic book, “Etched in Stone.” By going to the “Labor’s Legacy Landmark” section of this website, you can find further information and photographs.