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ERIC Number: ED153888
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Dec
Pages: 26
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Work People's College: A Finnish Folk High School in the American Labor College Movement.
Altenbaugh, Richard J.; Paulston, Rolland G.
American working class organizations' efforts since World War I to establish and control their own educational programs flourished during the 1920s and 1930s with the appearance of over 300 worker controlled colleges. An important forerunner of this movement was the Work People's College, created by socialist Finnish immigrants in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1907 as a Scandinavian type residential school for 42 students. Original objectives were to provide basic skills, help Finnish workers learn English, and, eventually, to train workers as teachers, editors, and socialist agitators. The curriculum, based upon the social sciences, stressed democratic ideology and cultivated class-consciousness. By 1913, the college served 157 students, employed eight instructors, and had expanded into a second building. Constant struggles between moderate and radical socialists for control of the college resulted in frequent changes in curriculum. By 1921 radicals had gained the upper hand and they stressed revolutionary unionism, direct action, sabotage, and general strikes instead of parliamentary socialism. When the college formally affiliated with the radical Industrial Workers of the World labor party (IWW) in 1921, it began to admit non-Finnish workers and lost much of its ethnic character. The college lost influence and enrollment and finally ceased operation in 1940. The college did, however, provide a model for labor college programs which were to develop in the 1930s, particularly Commonwealth College and Brookwood Labor College. The conclusion is that although the American Labor College Movement failed in its goal of social reconstruction, it produced graduates who contributed significantly to the American labor movement. (Author/DB)
Publication Type: Books
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Pittsburgh Univ., PA. International and Development Education Program.
Note: Not available in hard copy from EDRS due to poor reproducibility of original document