The Labor Heritage Society of West Michigan was established to research, preserve and publicize the rich social justice and labor heritage of West Michigan and the United States. Our first priority was the completion and dedication of the "Spirit of Solidarity" National Immigrant/Labor Monument. It took place in April 2007. It was a ten year, all volunteer effort. Costing 1.5 million dollars, it is the only labor monument in North America in front of a presidential museum. Approximately $75,000 remains to be raised to expire remaining debt.
Other plans call for a local and national education and training program for U.S. history teachers to help them engage, captivate and educate high school students with America's rich heritage of social and economic justice and democracy. We hope to produce and disperse our high school class tested and higher level educational resource materials including "Rags to Riches: Game of the Gilded Age" with the "The Best Little High School History Teacher's Handbook Ever Written" hands-on learning materials and techniques to teachers and educators in the public and private sector through area training conferences, seminars, and an on-line site. Other future endeavors include producing two coffee table top glossy photographic books of West Michigan and the nation's labor heritage with accompanying DVD's. Another project involves working with other groups to discover, document and mark historic sites with permanent historical markers, murals and neighborhood exhibits at various sites locally and around the country. Ultimately, the Museum of Popular American History, to be located in Grand Rapids or Muskegon, is planned to highlight four themes in American history, work, leisure, politics and religion.