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Grant number like: FT-229487-15

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David Scott Witwer
Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg (Middletown, PA 17057-4846)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2015 – 7/31/2015

Cold War America's Encounter With Labor Racketeering

Summer research and writing on Journalism, Labor and U.S. History.

The proposed book project tells the story of how America encountered labor racketeering in the Cold War era. It looks at a range of events and individuals involved with the McClellan Committee hearings, the largest investigation of labor racketeering in U.S. history. The investigation began in 1956, in the wake of a horrific acid attack on the crusading anti-racketeering newspaper columnist, Victor Riesel. Participants in the probe drew on their previous experience investigating the menace of internal communism. A close working relationship between the news media and the committee staff shaped the revelations of the hearings. Both organized labor and its opponents invoked a discourse of anti-racketeering in debates over union power, but the McClellan Committee hearings undercut the public's view of the labor movement's legitimacy. The loss of legitimacy marked a critical turning point in the movement's history.