2015 Bellush and Wertheimer Prizes Awarded

The Bernard Bellush and Barbara Wertheimer Prizes for best graduate and undergraduate work related to labor history were awarded at the NYLHA’s Commerford Reception, held last December.   Dr. Brian Greenberg of Monmouth University presented the awards, delivering these remarks:

On behalf of Bob Wechsler and myself, the New York Labor History Association is pleased to honor the excellent and moving work being done in labor history by graduate students and undergraduate students. This year we had more submissions than ever before, a testament to the continued engagement of an embattled labor movement.

There are two papers by graduate students sharing the 2015 Bernard Bellush Prize. They are, “This is Your Hometown: Collective Memory, Industrial Flight, and the Fate of Freehold, New Jersey,” by Jonathan Cohen, a doctoral student at the University of Virginia and Doug Genens, “Fighting Poverty in the Fields: Legal Services and the War on Poverty in Rural California.” Doug is a Ph.D. student at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

We also gather to recognize the best work by an undergraduate. The 2015 Barbara Wertheimer Prize goes to Jared Odessky, for  his Columbia University Senior Honor’s thesis, “Queer Teacher Organizing, the Religious Right, and Battles over Child Protection in South Florida’s Schools, 1977-1997.” Jared’s paper addressed the long and short term responses of South Florida’s queer teachers to Anita Bryant’s 1977 “Save Our Children” campaign.

It bears repeating that Jared’s paper and the two prize-winning Bellush papers are outstanding examples of the range and exceptional high quality of the work being submitted to the committee. 

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