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Release: Feb. 9, 2000

UI to host seminar on 'Labor and the Cold War'

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Cold War had significant and lasting effects on the American workforce and the American labor movement. Workers with unpopular political views faced persecution, and labor unions were seen as mechanisms for spreading communist propaganda. Anyone interested in hearing about recent research on Cold War-era labor issues is invited to attend "Labor and the Cold War," a seminar sponsored by the Center for Recent United States History (CRUSH) on Saturday, Feb. 19. The seminar will be from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the second floor conference room of the University of Iowa Main Library.

Following the seminar will be a 7 p.m. screening and discussion of the film "The Salt of the Earth," and its suppression in the 1950s. The film, released in 1954, deals with the efforts of Mexican-American zinc miners in New Mexico to battle against the exploitative practices of their employer, Delaware Zinc, Inc. Ethnic discrimination and unsafe working conditions lead the Mexican miners to declare a strike, with the support of their union. The filmmakers were hounded by the FBI, CIA and House un-American Activities Committee, who made great efforts to suppress the film. Once the film was released, many theaters refused to show it.

James Lorence of the University of Wisconsin--Marathon County, will lead the discussion of the film and will show videotaped excerpts of interviews with strike participants, which he drew on for his new book, "The Suppression of The Salt of the Earth" (University of New Mexico Press, 1999).

CRUSH is a consortium of the UI department of history, the UI Libraries, the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Hoover Library and Museum and the National Park Service. It has been in existence since the 1970s and holds periodic conferences, seminars and workshops for historians, librarians, archivists and the general public on topics in 20th century U.S. history.

This seminar is open to the public, but advance registration is required. Those who register will receive copies of the nine scholarly papers to be discussed throughout the day. The cost of the seminar is $20, which includes lunch and refreshments in addition to the seminar materials.

Deadline for registration is Monday, Feb. 14, and registration checks made payable to Center for Recent United States History (CRUSH) should be mailed to Department of History, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. For more information call: 319-335-2299.