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  • Union Strong!

    Site Maintained by Union Labor

  • Welcome!


    We here at LHF are so excited to share our new website with you. It was our intention to create a space that is informative and engaging. We wanted our virtual space to clearly show our appreciation of the past and how it helped shape the present and most importantly, how it will direct our future here at LHF. We are as committed as ever in our mission. We have a driven purpose to preserve and promote knowledge of the cultural heritage of the American worker through the arts, including music, poetry, written works, theatre, and artistic works.

    It is our deepest desire to strengthen the labor movement through the use of music and arts–Using creative organizing methods, artistic opportunities, and cultural activities we are the “synergy, heart, and soul” that brings the passion for equality, fair labor standards and practices, and a just society together in the labor movement.

    In part, union is defined as a joining, uniting, or a unification. It is in this spirit that we would love to hear from you. Let us know what you expect from the Labor Heritage Foundation. This is a journey that requires us all to engage, enlighten and inspire.

    Let us hear your voice.

    In the next weeks and months we will be tweeking our site to make it the best we can. Please visit often and remember, if you have a story about a local event using the arts to further the labor movement that you feel we should know about, drop us a note; if you attended an event filled with labor arts and spirit we would love for you to share your experience; if you have photos all the better!

    You can send your stories and experiences to us via this link. Here’s my story!

    Solidarity Sing Along Continues in Wisconsin

    The daily noon hour weekday Solidarity Sing Along at the Wisconsin State Capitol continues! It’s outdoors on Fridays, and yes, even during the winter! It is on the State street side of the State Capitol building. Bring your fiddle or guitar.  It’s been running for three years every day, like the ferry. And it will ferry union spirits during the exile days of Scott Walker.

    Pete Seeger – A Time For Peace

    Pete Seeger, singer, song writer, activists, who understood that to be a citizen of this country, took more than waving a flag. While he was a gentle, deeply humanistic being, his values were worn like battle armour.  He gave no quarter while being victimized by McCarthyism in 1955 when he was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee. When the committee tried to compel him to name names and tell of his associations and beliefs he never wilted or flinched.  Instead he stood strong against the swelling tide of McCarthy’s witch hunt and struck back.

    “I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.”   (Pete Seeger – 1955)

    Countless numbers of us grew up singing songs written or co-written by Pete Seeger.  “If I Had A Hammer”, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”, “Turn, Turn, Turn” and so many others that he made popular such as “We Shall Overcome”.  He said he just changed one word – he changed ‘will’ to ‘shall’ and it became the anthem of generations fighting for their civil rights.

    When Pete Seeger sang we all sang. He preferred to join his voice with others as he did many times at the Great Labor Arts Exchange. He recieved the Joe Hill Award to honor his body of work in the field of labor culture. Maybe it was because his spirit inherently understood the power we have when we join together, rising up as one with a singular purpose.  Sadly the struggles are not over, but we can still join our voices. We can join them with the echoes of Pete’s banjo and his voice that enveloped us – compelling us to rise and stand strong against the surge of oppression and injustice.

    Pete was 94 when he died on Monday of natural causes. Toshi, his wife of 70 years died last year.

    Take a moment and rejuvenate your spirit while watching this video of Pete. Of course Pete’s voice is softer than the audience, but then this would not be Pete Seeger if he sang alone. If you want to hear more of Pete’s songs, you can find them here.
    Pete Seeger – Turn, Turn, Turn

    Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives Brown Bag Lecture Series

    Sponsored by the Michigan State University School of Human Resources and Labor Relations

    Brown-Bag-Lecture-Series“Songs that Work: Music from the Workplace to the Workhouse” 
    Andy Cohen and Noah Shull  :: Writers and Performers
    Thursday, October 17
    12:15 – 1:30 in the MSU Museum Auditorium
    (co-sponsored by the MSU Library Colloquia Series – run in conjunction with their concert at Ten Pound Fiddle the next night)

    “Striking Images: Workers on Screen and in the Streets in the 1950s”
    Kathleen Newman :: Department of English
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Friday, October 18
    12:15 – 1:30 in the MSU Museum Auditorium

    “Trampling Out the Vintage: The Rise and Fall of the United Farm Workers”

    Frank Bardacke :: Author and Independent Scholar
    Thursday, October 24
    12:15 – 1:30 in the MSU Museum Auditorium
    Co-sponsored by the Chicano/Latino Studies Program and the Julian Samora Research Institute


    Canadian folksinger James Keelaghan was one of the most memorable ODW/ODL brown bag presenters ever when he appeared in the MSU Library for us a few years ago. He held everyone captivated with his songs and the wonderful stories behind them. Songs like “Hillcrest Mine” (about a mine disaster in western Canada) and “Cold Missouri Waters” (about the famous Mann Gulch Fire which claimed a number of firefighters in 1949) are now folk classics and Keelaghan is considered one of the best songwriters for capturing both the factual base and the poignancy of events in labor and working class history.  Keelaghan will return to the Ten Pound Fiddle this Friday night, October 4, at 8 PM. He will be appearing together In concert with British working class and labor folksinger Jez Lowe. Lowe is best known for such songs as “Black Diamonds,” “Old Bones,” and “Back in Durham Gaol.” The concert is at 8, doors open at or before 7:30; box office opens at 7 pm. This Ten Pound Fiddle concert will take place in the Unitarian Church at 855 Grove Street in East Lansing. For more information on this Friday’s concert, go to the Fiddle’s website. You can check out the James Keelaghan brown bag recording within our collection at the Vincent Voice Library of the MSU Library; to access the Keelaghan presentation simply click on the link:  http://catalog.lib.msu.edu/search/e?SEARCH=Voice+16166&sortdropdown=-&searchscope=39


    We are pleased to announce two new photographic exhibits at the MSU Museum which are co-sponsored by Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives. French photographer Gilles Perrin and his wife Nicole Ewenczyk have spent a lifetime doing portraits of workers across the globe. A retrospective of that work, “An Extraordinary Document of Our World,” is in the Heritage Gallery of the Museum from September 8, 2013 to January 12, 2013. During a 2012 visit to Michigan, Perrin and Ewenczyk added to that exhibit, but additionally created a separate body of work, “Detroit Resurgent.” The second exhibit of the same name is comprised of thirty-six of the sixty two portraits of workers, urban farmers, entrepreneurs, social activists, artists and others who are involved in the revival of the city of Detroit and runs for the same period in the ground-floor gallery at the Museum. Both exhibits share the Museum foyer.

    THE 2013-2014 BROWN BAG SERIES

    (Please do notice that we move to the MSU Library for two of the dates [November 8 and January 31] and not all the brown bag presentations are on Fridays.)


    Friday, November 1 – “Beyond the Morning Bell: Women and Work in the Art of Winslow Homer” – Marie Louden-Hanes, University of Findlay (co-sponsored by the MSU Center for Gender in Global Context and the MSU Women’s Resource Center)

    Friday, November 8 – “Beauty Shop Culture and the Labor of Hairdressing” – Candacy Taylor, Independent Scholar and current Archie Green award recipient at the American Folklore Center;  MSU Library, Room 449W (co-sponsored by the MSU Center for Gender in Global Context and the MSU Women’s Resource Center)

    Friday, November 15  – “Confronting the Chrome-plated Wasteland: The UAW, Working-Class Environmentalism and the Urban Crisis in Detroit” –  Brandon Ward, Department of History, Purdue University  (co-sponsored by Motorcities/The Automobile National Heritage Area)

    JANUARY, 2014

    Friday, January 10 – “Illegal Detroiters:  Undocumented Europeans and Unions in America’s Motor City, 1924- 1942″ – Ashley Johnson, History Department, Northwestern University   (co-sponsored by Motorcities/The Automobile National Heritage Area)

    Friday, January 24 – “Direct Care Workers: A Calling, the Job, and the Misjudging of Social Value”  – Clare Luz, MSU College Of Human Medicine and a panel of health care workers

    Friday, January 31 – “More than a Paycheck: What Occupational Music Reveals about Worker Health”  – Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock,  MSU Library, Room 449W (co-sponsored by the MSU Library Colloquia Series and the MSU Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine – run in conjunction with her appearance at the Mid-Winter Singing Festival that night)


    Friday, February 7 – “Shanghaied in Hoboken: Asian Sailors as Workers and Immigrants” – Anna Pegler-Gordon; MSU’s James Madison College  (co-sponsored by the MSU Asian Studies Center and the Asian Pacific American Studies program)

    Thursday, February 20  – “Redefining Skilled Mill Labor: Cape Verdean and African American Women in the American Textile Industry, 1900-1930″ – Kathryn Silva Banks, Andrews University (co-sponsored by the MSU Center for Gender in Global Context and the MSU Women’s Resource Center)

    Monday, February 24 – “Everyday Translations: Practices and Challenges among Muslim-Arab Public Sector Workers in France” – Chantal Tetreault; MSU Department of Anthropology  (co-sponsored by the MSU Muslim Studies)


    Friday, March 14 – “‘The Moralistic God and the Factory System': Uncovering Religion in a 1950s Automobile Factory” – Matthew Pehl, History Department, Augustana College  (co-sponsored by Motorcities/The Automobile National Heritage Area)

    Monday, March 17 – “The Chicago Couriers Union, 2003-2010; A Case Study in Solidarity Unionism” – Colin Bossen, American Studies, Harvard University


    Thursday, April 3 – “‘A Growing Apprehension': Canadians and the Great Labor Uprising of 1877 in the United States” – Jean-Philip Mathieu, History Department, University of Quebec (co-sponsored by the MSU Canadian Studies Center)

    Monday, April 14 – “In the Wake of Disaster: The Lake Carriers’ Association, Welfare Capitalism and Lake Erie’s Black Friday Storm of 1916″  – Matthew Daley, History Department, Grand Valley State University

    All presentations take place 12:15 – 1:30 in the MSU Museum Auditorium unless noted otherwise

    “Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives” is a cooperative project of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program (MSU Museum) and the Labor Education Program (MSU School of Human Resources and Labor Relations).  For more information on the MSU Museum and its exhibits and events, go to the website: http://museum.msu.edu. For more information concerning the Labor Education Program and the School for Human Resources and Labor Relations, go to the website: http://www.hrlr.msu.edu.

    2013 GLAE Song Writing Contest

    Labor Heritage Foundation Presents The 2013 Great Labor Arts Exchange Song Writing Contest

    Songwriting-Contest-Flyer-350Three Categories; $1000 In Cash Prizes

    The Jon Fromer Riff (String-buster) ($200)
    Peace and Justice, Union Solidarity,
    Ballad written within the last five years

    The Julie McCall Best Parody ($200)
    Political Satire

    The Joe Glazer Best Overall Song ($600)
    New song, written within the last year
    Contest Criteria

    Songwriters must sign up for the Arts Exchange and indicate song is a contender and category.

    Limit: one song per category and may only enter two of the three categories.

    LHF staff will keep track of song entries. Decision will be made after the last Exchange.

    Winning songs will be sung by the songwriter (or designee) during the Sunday night concert.

    Each GLAE participant gets one vote, per song and per category.

    Download the PDF flyer

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