A Radical’s Journey from Campus to the Shop Floor in 1970s Wisconsin

This event has passed.

Sewell Social Science, Room 8108 and Online via Zoom
@ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

This event was presented in collaboration with the School for Workers at UW-Madison and the South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL).

Other Events

Economic Sociology & Political Economy Colloquium: “From the Ivory Tower to the Satanic Mill: Students & Industrial Organizing”
Thursday, September 28, 12:30pm-2pm
Havens Wright Center Seminar Room
Sewell Social Science Building, Room 8108
1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706

“Fighting Times: An Evening with Jon Melrod and Bill Franks”
A Room of One’s Own bookstore
Thursday, September 28, 6pm

A man smiles directly at the camera. He wears a black baseball cap atop his wavy, shoulder length white hair. His white mustache & beard, worn close to his face, is flecked with gray. He wears an army-green t-shirt beneath a black button-down shirt. He sits before a white background.Born into the political and cultural quiescence of the 1950s, Jon Melrod grew up in apartheid-like Washington D.C. Active in the student movement that opposed the Vietnam War and a supporter of Black liberation, Jon embraced the ideology that the working class held the power to radically transform society. He left the campus for the factory in 1972. For thirteen years he immersed himself in the day-to-day struggles of Milwaukee’s working class, both on the factory floor and in the political arena. Despite FBI and Milwaukee Police “Red Squad” interference, Jon organized a militant rank-and-file caucus and rose through the union ranks to a top leadership position in UAW Local 72. After a mass workforce cutback imposed by American Motor Corporation’s joint-venture partner, French automaker Renault, he left to attend Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 1985. Graduating cum laude with a JD, he opened a law firm in San Francisco successfully representing hundreds of political refugees. In 2004, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given only six months to a year to live. Determined to overcome the illness, he marshalled both western and alternative treatments and, despite the odds, survived the deadly disease. After 13-year-old Andy Lopez was gunned down by a Sonoma County deputy sheriff, he reupped his bar membership and jumped back into the struggle against police violence.