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 1.35 million dollars, it is the only labor monument in North America in front of a presidential museum. In March 2014 the monument debt was finally paid off. However, a maintenance fund needs to be continually funded.
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 enriching 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." These innovative hands-on learning materials and techniques will help teachers and educators in the engage their students in the public and private sector. Eventually, we hope to also offer 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. Our immediate plans call for a video documentary on the monument and the labor history of Grand Rapids, and West Michigan. "The Spirit of Solidarity in the Nation's Weathervane City." 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.