Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Presentation to Global City

Had a great chance to speak at a Global City gathering at Michigan Tech. There were about 40 people at the talk, and I got peppered with a couple of really good, thoughtful questions.  The details of the talk:

Dear all - please join us this TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, for an exciting presentation on the history of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike

In honor of the centennial anniversary of the strike we have asked Gary Kaunonen to be our guest this week.
Gary is currently the Associate Director of Michigan Tech's Writing Program, a Graduate Teaching Instructor, and a PhD student at Michigan Tech in the Rhetoric and Technical Communication program. He has researched and written extensively on immigration, labor, and the industrial heritage of the local area.Fisher 138 from 6:00-7:00! Pizza and drinks will be provided. Please bring your own cup if you can!

Link to Global City's web page: http://global.students.mtu.edu/

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Michigan Sate University Press Overview for Community in Conflict

A mirror of the great changes that were occurring on the national labor right scene, the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike was a time of unprecedented social upheaval in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. With organized labor taking an aggressive stance against the excesses of unfettered capital, the stage was set for a major struggle between workers and management. The Michigan Copper Strike received national attention and garnered the support of luminaries in organized labor like Mother Jones, John Mitchell, and Charles Moyer. The hope of victory was overshadowed, however, by violent incidents like the shooting of striking workers and their family members; and the bitterness of a community divided. No other event came to symbolize or memorialize the Strike more than the Italian Hall tragedy, in which dozens of workers and working-class children died. In Community in Conflict, the efforts of working people to gain a voice on the job and in their community through their union, and the efforts of employers to crush those unions, take center stage. Previously untapped historic sources shine new light on this epic, and ultimately tragic, period in American labor history.

Friday, January 11, 2013

About the Community in Conflict Cover

We are very proud to share the cover to the upcoming book, Community in Conflict: A Working-class History of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike and the Italian Hall Tragedy. The book itself is the culmination of research going back almost 10 years. I (Gary) had been working with sources from the Copper Country's Finnish immigrant population, which was instrumental in bringing about the strike and also during the strike while working on a Master's at Michigan Tech and some of these sources were inevitably used in Community as well.

Aaron and I started working together on the book in 2011. His expertise in the national labor scene at that time gives Community in Conflict something that other book length histories of the strike do not provide: a national context. Workers in the Copper Country did not live in a vacuum, and national events in the labor movement and business and management relations had great impacts on local workers and their surroundings in the Copper Country. That is the "community" in Community in Conflict--we strive to paint a whole picture of the Copper Country's labor movement and not just what happened in the mines and streets of the Copper Country during the dates of the strike.

Thus, the book is a look at not only striking workers, but their families, the copper bosses, and the social and political environment in which the Copper Country's working-class lived. The back story provided in the book leads up to the great clash between labor and management that was the 1913-14 strike, and the truly tragic events at Italian Hall--mostly with regard to and using the perspective of the Copper Country's working class members.

The cover itself is a symbol of our attempt to include the personal stories of members of the Copper Country's working class. The artwork on the cover is an engaging political cartoon drawn by Konstu Sallinen, a Finnish immigrant working at the Tyomies Publishing Company in Hancock, Michigan, during the strike. Salllinen drew the cartoon in the early days of the actual strike and captured the "conflict" that was consuming the Copper Country at that time. His artwork is an artistic first person perspective on conditions from a working-class perspective.

You'll note in the Sallinen's cartoon the haggered, but determined look look on many of the strikers' faces. One striking worker is carrying a sign that reads a familiar slogan shouted during strike parades by workers. In the background the artillery of the Michigan National Guard sits ready for use, while Michigan National Guardsmen themselves stand watching strikers with guns outfitted with bayonets next to military issue tents.

We felt the image was a powerful representation of the tension and conflict simmering in the Copper Country. While we selected the image, Michigan State University Press, our publisher, employed an incredible graphic artist to select the color scheme, font, and organize the cover's layout. We feel the graphic artist did a great job and when we first received the cover to look over from the Press, Aaron had copies made and distributed them throughout St. Martin's University where he teaches.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Upcoming Strike-related Historical Events

The centennial year of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike is here, and events with strike-related history are already happening and about to happen. Hoping to keep people updated, I'm posting some events from the Historical Society of Michigan's Upper Peninsula events calendar. For those interested, a link to that site: http://www.hsmichigan.org/calendar/upper-michigan/.

Seeberville 1913: Everyday Life in Violent Times

When: Tue January 15
Where: Calumet
The Calumet Public-School Library presents “Seeberville 1913: Everyday Life in Violent Times.” Join Kim Hoagland as she talks about Seeberville and its role in the copper strike. This program is part of the traveling exhibit “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-1914 Copper Strike.” The program begins at 6:30 p.m. at Calumet High School. For more information about the program, visit www.1913strike.mtu.edu.

Mine Safety Issues in the 1913 Strike Era

When: Sat February 9
Where: Houghton
The Carnegie Museum presents “Mine Safety Issues in the 1913 Strike Era.” Join Larry Lankton as he speaks about the conditions of the mines and the dangers miners faced. This program is part of the traveling exhibit “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-1914 Copper Strike.” The program begins at 1 p.m. at the Carnegie Museum. For more information, call (906) 482-7140 or visit www.cityofhoughton.com/rec-carnegie.php.

Pulp and Propaganda: Newspapers in the Strike Era

When: Sun March 17
Where: L’Anse
The L’Anse Area School Public Library presents “Pulp and Propaganda: Newspapers in the Strike Era.” Join Jane Nordberg as she speaks about newspapers and their role in the copper strike. This program is part of the traveling exhibit “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-1914 Copper Strike.” The program begins at 1 p.m. at the L’Anse Highschool. For more information, visit www.1913strike.mtu.edu.

Company Houses Along the Picket Line

When: Wed April 10
Where: Painesdale
The Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center presents “Company Houses Along the Picket Line.” Join Erik Nordberg as he talks about the mining company and their impact on the Painesdale area. This program is part of the traveling exhibit “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-1914 Copper Strike.” The program begins at 7 p.m. at the Jeffers High School Library. For more information, visit www.1913strike.mtu.edu.

Interpreting the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike

When: Thu May 23
Where: Calumet
The Keweenaw National Historical Park presents “Interpreting the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike.” Join Gary Kaunonen as he discusses the copper strike and its impact on the Upper Peninsula. This program is part of the traveling exhibit “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-1914 Copper Strike.” The program begins at 7 p.m. at the Calumet Visitor Center in the Keweenaw National Historical Park. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/kewe/index.htm.