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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 14, 2005

Historian To Speak On 20th Century Labor Movement Sept. 22 At UI

Labor activist and historian David Montgomery, will speak on "Workers' Movements and Imperialism: The Changing World of the Twentieth Century," Thursday, Sept. 22, at 5:30 p.m. in room 1505 Seaman's Center.

Montgomery, the Farnam Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, is the author of many books and articles on labor history and also has written about current issues facing workers in the United States. His book, "The Fall of the House of Labor:  The Workplace, the State, and American Labor Activism, 1865-1925," was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1988. He currently is working on a new book, "Black Workers' Struggle for Equality in Birmingham," in collaboration with Horace Huntley of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. This book is based on oral histories and explores how different unions helped African American workers in their quest for equality and dignity on the job as well as in their communities.

A former trade union activist, Montgomery, never lost touch with his trade (he was a machinist for 10 years) or with the labor movement, particularly with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, known more commonly as the UE (the parent union of the UI's graduate student union, COGS).

After receiving his doctorate in history at the University of Minnesota in 1962, Montgomery spent 14 years teaching at the University of Pittsburgh. He also spent two years in England at the University of Warwick, helping E.P. Thompson establish the Centre for the Study of Social History. In addition, he has held visiting teaching positions at Oxford University, and in Canada, Brazil and the Netherlands. While at Yale he taught courses about the history of working people in the United States, Civil War and Reconstruction, and immigration. He is a past president of the Organization of American Historians and for many years edited the journal International Labor and Working-Class History.

Montgomery's lecture and visit to the UI are sponsored by the UI Graduate History Society with support from UISG, the UI Labor Center, and UE-COGS.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Caroline Campbell, Graduate History Society,; Writer: Lynn Hudachek