January Labor History Talks

There are two upcoming Labor History talks this January, put on as part of the Institute for New Dimensions (IND) winter lecture program.

The first talk, on January 17th from 1pm-2:30pm, is by Keith Danish
on “The Haymarket Bombing”. Then, on January 26th from 10am-11:30am,
Angelica Santomauro and  Evelyn Hershey of the Botto House will be giving a presentation entitled“Labor & Politics: Past & Present”.

Both talks are being held at the Central Unitarian Church at 156 Forest Avenue, Paramus, NJ. There is a $10 overall registration fee for the series plus $5 for each individual talk attended.  Attendees may pay at the door.

New for 2017: Online Book Reviews

Happy new year!  We are excited to announce a new Labor History Resource featured on the NYLHA website, ONLINE BOOK REVIEWS.

Our first review is by Maynard Seider on Aldon D. Morris’s The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology.



And visit here again soon for more!

Written by Comments Off on New for 2017: Online Book Reviews Posted in Uncategorized

2016 Barbara Wertheimer Prize

NYLHA is proud to announce the winner of the 2015 Barbara Wertheimer Prize!

Luke Mielke is the winner of this year’s Barbara Wertheimer Prize, for his Macalester College American Studies Honors Thesis “Racial Uplift in a Jim Crow Local: Black Union Organizing in Minneapolis Hotels, 1930-1940.”  Duchess Harris was the Project Advisor.


In the 1930s and 1940s, Minneapolis hotels employed two-thirds of all African-Americans working in the city. For black workers in Minneapolis, hotels were a site rife with contradictions: while these jobs offered prestige and union wages, they simultaneously drew upon hotel’s appeal to white customers’ slavery fantasy by promoting an atmosphere of racialized luxury. My research examines how narratives of respectability and racial uplift— generally at odds with the militant working-class politics of unions—became important for black hotel workers in Minneapolis, whose ability to conform to middle-class patriarchal norms was jeopardized by the submissive stereotypes promoted by hotels. Despite its status as a “Jim Crow local,” the all-black Hotel Employee and Restaurant Employee (HERE) Local 614 won significant wage increases for black waiters and represented a grassroots effort to participate in a labor movement that wanted to exclude them. Drawing from oral histories with the black leadership of Local 614 and its close ally, the integrated HERE Local 665, I argue that unions offered a few individuals an opportunity to rise from just another rank-and-file waiter to an influential leader. Leadership gained status both within a mostly white labor movement and the class-stratified black Minnesotan community, shaping the early civil rights movement in Minneapolis. The story of how these workers, mostly waiters in the dining rooms of the city’s finest hotels, deepens our understanding of the complicated position of black workers in the 1930-1940 labor movement by illuminating the diversity of the motivations and ideologies that informed black union leaders in Local 614 and Local 665.