Dig into labor history with Untold Stories

untold-stories-header12The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library rolls out its Untold Stories series each May for Labor History Month. The series focuses on workers’ rights, with programs that challenge audiences to question what we know of labor history, while lifting up workers’ efforts to organize, seek respect and confront issues of safety and discrimination over the last century.

Events this year include lectures, discussions and a play reading. They are free and open to the public.

Elizabeth Faue: Rethinking the American Labor Movement. (7 p.m. May 1, Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave.) Learn the story of the labor movement and groups that helped form the political and social efforts that shaped our country. Elizabeth Faue will discuss these ideas and more from her book.

William P. Jones: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Public Employee Unions, and the Dignity of Labor. (May 3, 6:30 p.m., Rondo Community Library, 461 North Dale St.) Professor Jones will discuss the sanitation strike that MLK advocated for prior to his death in 1968, as well as the broader history of public-sector unions.

Jimmy Patiño: Raza Sí, Migra No. (May 7, 7 p.m., East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St.) Patiño will discuss his new book exploring the rise of the Chicano/ Mexicano movement and the struggle for human rights as immigration from Mexico to the U.S. grew significantly during the 1970s and 1980s.

It Can’t Happen Here: Play Reading and Discussion. (May 14, 7 p.m., Arlington Hills Community Center, 1200 Payne Ave.) In an adaptation of the 1936 play based on Sinclair Lewis’s novel read by local actors, a small-town news editor struggles with the election of a fascist demagogue to the U.S. presidency. The Twin Cities Labor Chorus will open the evening with a performance.

Gary Kaunonen: Flames of Discontent. (May 19, 2 p.m., Hayden Heights Library, 1456 White Bear Ave.) Kaunonen’s new book tells the story of the 1916 miners’ strike in northern Minnesota, one of the most important events of the 20th century in organized labor history.

Forging the Farmer-Labor Coalition. (Thursday, May 24, 7 p.m., Rice Street Library, 1011 Rice St.) Learn about the rise of the Farmer-Labor movement, the most successful third party in U.S. history that went on to form the DFL. Tom O’Connell and Randy Croce lead a discussion and show clips from their documentary-in-progress.

For more information, visit thefriends.org.

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