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450 S Michigan Ave, AUD 1851
Chicago IL 60605
United States


Illinois Labor History Society


The Illinois Labor History Society Seeks to encourage the preservation and study of labor history materials of the Illinois Region, and to arouse public interest in the profound significance of the past to the present. Learn more>>

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Upcoming events.


Photos from previous events.


Bookstore and reviews.

Welcome to the NEW ILHS Website

We are very pleased to welcome you to the newly renovated ILHS website.  We invite you to explore the site.  It contains many of the same features and content that made our former website so popular, but it also has new additions:

Looking for a recommendation for a good labor book or CD?  Check out our new reviews section, with reviews of some of the latest labor history books and musical cds, written by ILHS Vice President Mike Matejka.

Hoping to attend an ILHS event? Check our our calendar for upcoming programs.

Needing a daily-dose of labor history?  Check out Labor History in 2:00 a two-minute daily history podcast created in partnership with the Rick Smith Radio Show.

Do you have suggestions or comments about our new site?  Contact ILHS




More than 350 people joined together at Operating Engineers Hall 399, in Chicago, to celebrate and honor Timuel Black, Elwood Flowers, Sr., Elcosie Gresham, and Milton McDaniel, as we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Great Migration.  Dr. Lorretta Johnson, Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers gave an inspiring key note speech.  All the unions and brothers and sisters who purchased tickets, bought tables, and provided sponsorship helped make this memorable night possible, and ILHS is truly thankful.

You can watch a video of the program here  (provided by CAN-TV)

Thank you to ILHS Vice President, Mike Matejka for these wonderful photographs of this memorable evening:

WHY Teach Labor History?

Why is it important to teach labor history to the next generation?

According to the renowned labor historian James Green: "Today, with union membership reduced, government standards for worker rights and safety under assault, and job security in jeopardy everywhere, young people entering the labor market are still vulnerable to to abuse in the workplace.  And yet, most are alarmingly unaware of the decades of struggle that previous generations engaged in--and that union members are still engaged in today--to extend human and civil rights in the workplace."  Read more from James Green's article here.

Jim Green passed away earlier this year, please take a moment to read a tribute to this true champion of labor history written by ILHS Vice President Mike Matejka here.









"The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voice you are throttling today." August Spies, 1855-1887

"And I long to see the day when Labor will have the destiny of the nation in her own hands and she will stand as a united force and show the world what the workers can do." Mary Harris 'Mother' Jones, 1830-1930

“What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures, to make manhood more noble, womanhood more beautiful, and childhood more happy and bright.." Samuel Gompers, 1850-1924 

“Freedom is never given it is won.”             A Philip Randolph, 1889-1979