June 20, 2023

Wayne State University acquires Horace Sheffield Jr. Collection

The Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, is pleased to announce the acquisition of an archival collection documenting the life and work of Horace Sheffield Jr.

The Sheffield Collection will give insight into the life and work of a labor and community trailblazer through personal and family papers, correspondence, images, and ephemera collected over a life of leadership: as an official in UAW Local 600, founding member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), President of the Detroit CBTU, founder of the politically influential Trade Union Leadership Council (TULC) and Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO), director of the Detroit NAACP, and administrative assistant to UAW President Douglas Fraser.

The collection will complement Reuther Library’s holdings documenting Black leadership in U.S. trade unionism such as the CBTU, Detroit Revolutionary Movements and the papers of AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy.

Image:  Portrait of Horace Sheffield Jan. 7, 1972 Detroit News Photograph Collection (UAV002691, vmc 47047) Courtesy Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs
Image: Portrait of Horace Sheffield
Jan. 7, 1972
Detroit News Photograph Collection (UAV002691, vmc 47047)
Courtesy Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs

“The Sheffield family’s involvement in civil rights and trade unionism began in the Ford Rouge foundry, where Horace L. Sheffield Sr. toiled in pre-union years and Horace L. Sheffield Jr. emerged as a national Black trade union and civil rights leader,” the Rev. Horace Sheffield III said. “It is where he joined forces with the Reuther brothers, and it is here, in the Walter Reuther Library, where that record of his transformative work will now reside. The Sheffield family is honored that Horace L. Sheffield Jr.’s work is being made available to researchers, historians and students at the Walter Reuther Library on the campus of Wayne State University.”

Reuther Library staff will work over the next year to incorporate the collection into the archives, prepare materials for researchers, and  announce widely when open for public research.  

The Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, is the largest labor archives in North America. Its collection strengths extend to the political and community life of urban and metropolitan Detroit, the civil rights movement in Michigan and nationally, and women's struggles in the workplace. The Reuther also houses the Wayne State University Archives.

Contact: Aliqae Geraci, aliqae.geraci@wayne.edu

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