The Blog of the Frances Perkins Center

Resolution of labor historians regarding the missing mural

In Political world on April 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm

To Whom It May Concern:

On behalf of the Labor and Working-Class History Association, I would like to bring to your attention a resolution that the LAWCHA board passed on March 31, 2011, regarding recent events at the Maine Department of Labor:

The resolution:

“The Labor and Working-Class History Association, the largest organization of labor historians in the United States, supports efforts to preserve public art that represents the nation’s labor history in local, state, and federal buildings. We deplore Maine Governor Paul LePage’s removal of the labor history mural from Maine Department of Labor offices over the weekend of March 26-27, 2011. In eleven panels painted by Maine artist Judy Taylor and installed in 2008, this mural depicts the working people who were central in the making of Maine’s rich industrial history. The panels portray diverse groups of working-class Mainers, including colonial-era artisans; nineteenth-century loggers and child laborers; shoe workers on strike with the CIO in Auburn and Lewiston in 1937; and women workers riveting ships at Bath Iron Works during World War II. Together with the renaming of department conference rooms previously named after important figures in the nation’s labor history, such as Frances Perkins, the first female secretary of labor, whose family has Maine roots, this act constitutes an attempt to erase the historical memory and heritage of Maine’s working people. LAWCHA urges Maine’s elected officials to reinstall the mural in its original location and to return the names of distinguished labor activists to the rooms where they belong.”

Labor and Working-Class History Association

Executive Committee

President, Kimberley Phillips

Vice President, Shelton Stromquist

Secretary, Cecelia Bucki

Treasurer, Thomas Klug

Immediate Past President, Mike Honey

Executive Assistant, Ryan Poe

Board

Randi Storch, SUNY – Cortland

Moon-Ho Jung, University of Washington

Laurie Green, University of Texas – Austin

Franca Iacovetta, University of Toronto

Erik Gellman, Roosevelt University

Thavolia Glymph, Duke Universityn

Ruth Milkman, University of California, Los Angeles

Joan Sangster, Trent University

Emilio Zamora, University of Texas, Austin

Francisco Barbarosa, University of Colorado, Boulder

Eileen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara

Brian Kelly, Queen’s University

Clarence Lang, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Priscilla Murolo, Sarah Lawrence

We are urging LAWCHA members and all other historians in the United States to join those individuals and organizations in Maine who are working to restore the mural and conference room names to their original locations.

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