discussion questions

                                           Industria de Detroit o Hombre y Máquina, by Diego Rivera
                              U.S. Labor History

Priscilla Murolo                                                                                              Labor 697C
pmurolo at sarahlawrence.edu                                                                      Summer 2019
                                          Click here for the class schedule.  

Reading assignments
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (any edition; free PDF on our Moodle page)
Theresa Malkiel, The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker (The Cooperative Press, 2nd edition, 1910; free PDF on our Moodle page)
Priscilla Murolo and A.B. Chitty, From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: An Illustrated History of Labor in the United States (2018 edition; ISBN: 978-1620974483)
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (9th ed., 2017; ISBN: 978-1319113025)

Various articles and historical documents, itemized in the class schedule and available via Moodle or distributed in class. Click here for a link to our course page on Moodle. It is available to guests; use this password: History123!

A note on From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: Don't be fooled by imitations; be sure to get the revised and updated edition published in 2018.

From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend and Rampolla’s Pocket Guide can bothl be purchased on line; they are not hard to track down. (I especially recommend buying them from Powell’s Books, a union shop.) With regard to the Pocket Guide, it’s okay to opt for an earlier edition, which would be less expensive, but steer clear of anything older than the 7th edition, published in 2012. PDFs of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker can be downloaded free of charge from Google Books and our course’s Moodle page.

Before the course begins, read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the following books, preferably in this order: From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker. Unless Labor History is your only course this summer, it’s a good idea to read as well all of the articles and documents assigned for July 15-22. A few new readings for July 23 may be added to our Moodle page at the end of June.

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Seminar meetings
Our meetings will include illustrated lectures, open discussions, student presentations, and a few musical interludes. Reading assignments are paired with discussion questions posted on this website's questions page and appended to Moodle copy of our syllabus. Please think about these questions as you prepare for class. They'll provide the starting points for our discussions, which will usually begin with a student presentation on the question at hand.

Seminar paper
You are free to explore any topic in U.S. labor history, from the colonial period through 2019. The paper may take various forms: a paper based on research in primary sources, an annotated collection of historical documents or oral-history interviews, an assessment of scholarship on a particular topic, or some other essay that involves critical thinking about U.S. labor history, including very recent developments. For guidelines on historical research and writing, see Rampolla's Pocket Guide; but please use the citation system laid out in the ULA Style Sheet instead of the one presented in Rampolla's book. The paper is due December 1, 2019, and the recommended length is 20 pages (double-spaced 12-point type, including citations). Email it to <pmurolo@sarahlawrence.edu>.

During the week of July 15-20, every student will have a one-to-one conference to discuss possibilities for the seminar paper. A one-page prospectus is due on Tuesday, July 23, at our second to last class meeting. The prospectus should:
- Lay out the central question that prompts your project: what do you want to figure out?
- State your thesis in reply to that question: what's your best guess at this point?
- Explain the significance of your project: why does it matter to you, to other historians, to your union, or to some other worthy project?
- Include a preliminary bibliography of relevant scholarship and/or journalism (both books and articles).
- Briefly describe any primary sources you intend to use.

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C L A S S   S C H E D U L E:                             
Dates, Topics, Reading Assignments
All of the texts marked with an asterisk can be accessed on the UMass's Moodle page for our course. I
n some cases, the texts are also available on public websites, and you will find the links below.
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Click here for the reading/discussion questions that pertain to our readings.

Click here for a link to the Moodle page in which you can access readings. The page available to guests; use this password: History123!


Monday, July 15                                                                                                  
Introduction/The Unfinished Revolution                                                             

*Priscilla Murolo,"What Is Labor History?"
From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend, foreword and chapters 1 and 2
*Declaration of Independence - click for direct link
*Constitution of the United States - click below for direct links:
          Original Constitution (1788)         
          Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10, 1791)
          Amendments 11-27 (1795-1992)

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Tuesday, July 16
The Slaveholding Republic/Another Unfinished Revolution                                 

From the Folks, chapters 3 and 4
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)
Gerda Lerner, ed., "The Case of Margaret Garner" (1856, 1876), "They Called Her Moses" (1860, 1869) and "An Ingenious Escape" (1852, 1860), in Black Women in White America: A Documentary History
*Civil War and Reconstruction chronology
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (1862)
*Emancipation Proclamation (1863)- click for direct link (scroll down for a link to the transcript)
*13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution (1865-1870) - click for direct link; scroll down for Amendments 13-15
Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Case for Reparations," The Atlantic, June 2015 (PDF available on Moodle the but for some great extra graphics, see the online version at this url: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/

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Wednesday, July 17
The Gilded Age 

From the Folks, chapter 5
*Knights of Labor, "Preamble and Declaration of Principles" (circa 1885)
*Las Gorras Blancas, "Nuestra Platforma"(circa 1889)
*Samuel Gompers, "Free Speech and Public Assembly" (1891-1914)
*Lucy Warner, "Why Do People Look Down on Working Girls?" (1890)
*National People's Party Platform (1892) - click for direct link
*Lucy Parsons, "The Principles of Anarchism" (1905) - click for direct link
*David Adams, "Internal Military Interventions in the United States," Journal of Peace Research 32:2 (1995): 197-211; see especially the section titled "The Era of Industrial Warfare"

Recommended: *Michael Reich, "Capitalist Development, Class Relations, and Labor History," in J. Carroll Moody and Alice Kessler-Harris, eds., Perspectives on American Labor History, 31-54
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Thursday, July 18
Politics and Direct Action   

From the Folks, chapter 6
Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker - click for direct link to text on Google Books, which can be downloaded as a PDF; also available on Moodle
Statements on political action, from the American Federation of Labor, the Socialist Party, the Industrial Workers of the World, and Mother Jones:
          *Samuel Gompers (AFL), "The Political Policy of Organized Labor" (1909-1919)
          *Eugene Debs (SP), "Unionism and Socialism" (excerpts, 1904)
          *Mrs. Robert Patterson (SP), "The Negro Woman in Politics" (1922)
          *Vincent St. John (IWW), "Political Parties and the I.W.W." (circa 1910)
           *IWW, "Organize on the Job Where You Are Robbed" (1911)
           *Ernest Riebe, IWW, "Mr. Block: He Tries Political Action" (circa 1913)
           *Mother Jones, "You Don't Need a Vote to Raise Hell," from The Autobiography of Mother Jones (1925) - click for direct link
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Friday, July 19
Hard Times, Fighting Times 

From the Folks, chapters 7 and 8 and first sections of chapter 9 (pp. 185-195)
*Mary Heaton Vorse, "Victory in Flint" and "The Chrysler Strike," in Labor's New Millions
*Vicki Ruiz, "Women's Participation in UCAPAWA Locals, 1939-1950": Tables 4 and 5, in Ruiz, Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950
*Philip Murray, "Report of the President," Final Proceedings of the Eighth Constitutional Convention of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (1946), pp. 36-110

*CIO, Final Proceedings of the Eighth Constitutional Convention (1946)

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Saturday, July 20
Repression, Accommodation, Resistance    

From the Folks, final sections of chapter 9 (pp. 195-210) and chapter 10

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Monday, July 22
New Challenges, New Labor                                                                                  

*From the Folks, chapters 11-13
*SEIU, "SEIU Resolution to End U.S. Occupation of Iraq, and [for] Return of U.S. Troops," New Labor Forum 13:3 (Fall 2004): 95-97
AFL-CIO Executive Council, Resolution #53 (on the war in Iraq), adopted by the AFL-CIO Convention, 2005
*Convention Debate on Resolution 53, unofficial transcript from U.S. Labor Against the War

Recommended YouTube videos:

Backstory to the AFL-CIO's adoption of Resolution 53 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fivdtboF4l8

Labor journalist David Bacon on emigration from Mexico and the right to stay home (talk at the annual meeting of Democratic Socialists of America, 2013)- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAQBnP_9w6Y

Sarah Sherman Stokes, Boston University Law School, "Immigration in America: The 'Crisis' We Created," January 9, 2019, Albright Institute, Wellesley College - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_D-a8F-Al4

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Tuesday, July 23
What's Going On

From the Folks, chapters 14-15



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Wednesday, July 24                                                                                          
Looking Backward, Looking Forward                                                                 

Course evaluation and presentation of research plans.

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