• Maurice Sugar: law, labor, and the left in Detroit, 1912-1950

    It was Maurice Sugar, labor activist and lawyer for the United Auto Workers, who played a key role in guiding the newly-formed union through the treacherous legal terrain obstructing its development in the 1930s. He orchestrated the injunction hearings on the Dodge Main strike and defended the legality of the sit-down tactic. As the UAW's General Council, he wrote the union's constitution in 1939, a model of democratic thinking. Sugar worked with George Addes, UAW Secretary-Treasurer, to nurture…

  • Toast of the town: the life and times of Sunnie Wilson

    As part of the great migration of southern blacks to the north, Sunnie Wilson came to Detroit from South Carolina after graduating from college, and soon became a pillar of the local music industry. He started out as a song and dance performer but found his niche as a local promoter of boxing, which allowed him to make friends and business connections quickly in the thriving industrial city of Detroit. Part oral history, memoir, and biography, Toast of the Town draws from hundreds of hours of ta…

  • Uppermost Canada: the Western District and the Detroit frontier, 1800-1850

    The publication of this volume in a freely accessible digital format has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation through their Humanities Open Book Program.

  • Working detroit: the making of a union town

    Babson recounts Detroit's odyssey from a bulwark of the "open shop" to the nation's foremost "union town." Through words and pictures, Working Detroit documents the events in the city's ongoing struggle to build an industrial society that is both prosperous and humane.

    Babson begins his account in 1848 when Detroit has just entered the industrial era. He weaves the broader historical realties, such as Red Scare, World War, and economic depression into his account, tracing the ebb and flow …