[Marxism] Bill Adelman: Haymarket tour author and labor historian....
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Fri Sep 18 12:03:49 MDT 2009
----- Original Message ----- From: "Seth Wigderson" <
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To: <H-LABOR at H-NET.MSU.EDU>
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 11:12 AM
Subject: William J. Adelman remembered
From: Illinois Labor History Society <ilhs at prodigy.net>
September 17, 2009
William J. (Bill) Adelman Remembered
By Leslie F. Orear, President Emeritus, Illinois Labor History Society
A life of devotion to the pursuit of labor history came to an abrupt
end on September 15th with the death of William J Adelman, a founder
of the Illinois Labor History Society and its Vice President. The
cause of death was a heart attack.
Adelman began his professional career as a high school history
teacher. Later Professor Adelman joined the faculty of the Institute
of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
He was one of the few academics offering a labor history perspective
in the Chicago region during the 60s and 70s. His lectures, seminars
and tours to labor sites became extremely popular, particularly in the
labor union community. His content was always designed to produce the
maximum understanding of the historical roots of contemporary issues,
and his encyclopedic knowledge of the subject was legendary.
As one of an informal group of labor attorneys, educators and editors he
helped create the Haymarket Workers Memorial Committee which issued a call
for a ceremony in Haymarket Square on May 1, 1969 to correct public
misunderstanding of the "so-called" Haymarket riot. The success of that
effort led to the incorporation of the Illinois Labor History Society and
Adelman's election as Vice President that same year.
Aware of the need for better teaching tools, Adelman produced self-guided
tours to the Pullman community where the great strike of 1894 had taken
place and to areas associated with the Haymarket Tragedy of 1886. He
continued the series with Pilsen and the West Side, including the Ashland
Avenue neighborhood known as Union Row because of its numerous labor union
headquarters. His visual works began in the 16mm days with "Packingtown
USA" followed by "Palace Cars and Paradise," a walking tour of the Pullman
community with Adelman himself as guide. Both have been transferred to
video. Most of these materials are available today through the Illinois
Labor History Society.
He served on the official public committee to select the sculptor for
the Haymarket Memorial sculpture installed by the City of Chicago in
Haymarket Square in 2004 after 35 years of agitation by the labor
community. This historic event followed the naming of the Haymarket
Martyrs Monument in Forest Home Cemetery as a National Historic
Landmark by the U.S. National Park Service in 1998. Adelman had urged
such action at a conference held by the Park Service. .
In May 2009, Adelman's "Haymarket Revisited" was republished in the
English language by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions in New Delhi with a
foreword by its president, M.K. Pandhe. In this new version entitled
"Glorious Saga of May Day Martyrs," Pandhe notes that he and his wife had
been members of a Haymarket tour party in 2008. Pandhe declares: ".I must
mention the remarkable guidance given by Prof. William J. Adelman..For over
two hours he narrated the entire background to us in a lucid manner which
reflected his firm commitment to the working class and their legitimate
struggles. I was deeply impressed. by the book ["Haymarket Revisited"] and
thought that Indian readers should know about the glorious struggle of the
Adelman was immediately informed when the book arrived at the ILHS
office in late August of this year, but unfortunately he did not have
the opportunity to see it before his untimely death.
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