South University starts online training course for contact tracing

South University starts online training course for contact tracing

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, so does the workload of contact tracers. Robin DiAngelo’s best seller is giving white Americans a new way to talk about race. Do those conversations actually serve the cause of equality? On his regularly appearing “Publisher’s Notes” page of the ISR, Kerr would often emphasise that the company was organised to do just one thing–to bring out… Many art galleries across Northern Michigan are getting creative by making their art more accessible. This has led some galleries to take some of their artwork literally outside and/or inside the World Wide Web. The Twisted Fish Gallery & Sculpture Garden in Elk Rapids has done both with a garden art walkway, and an online store – in addition to… The pandemic is still here, but domestic helpers and housekeepers need to work and families want the services. How do both parties resume work safely? The answer is about trust, safety and communication.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, so does the workload of contact tracers.

Health department officials say they are doing their best to keep up, but it grows more challenging daily. South University saw the need and wanted to help.

South University has developed a new online course to help amid the coronavirus pandemic. They say it’s not only meant to support our health departments, but also our communities.

“Besides wearing our masks and six foot distances and washing our hands, this is a really meaningful tool. It will help people get work which is certainly critical right now,” South University Campus President Valarie Trimarchi said.

As of now you can enroll in their free contract tracing course. It’s a self-pace online program that lasts less than 10 hours.

Those who join will have to pass a number of modules at 80 percent or above to earn a certificate. The program was designed using CDC guidelines, but they are still working to get CDC endorsement.

In just a day, 80 people registered and have already completed the course meaning they can now apply for jobs. To some, this seems too good to be true as a free course available across the country, but South University leaders say it was the right thing to do during the pandemic.

“You know, we’re doing it because it’s needed, and I think that’s the simple, straight-up answer. We know that the COVID is crazy, it’s scary we know that there’s a huge demand for contact tracers around the country and we just saw this as our chance to give back to that community,” Dr. Trimarchi said.

Coastal Health District officials say to keep up with the case load, they hired 23 contact tracers and intend to bring on more in the future as does the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.


Author: Blair Caldwell

‘White Fragility’ Is Everywhere. But Does Antiracism Training Work?

‘White Fragility’ Is Everywhere. But Does Antiracism Training Work?


Robin DiAngelo’s best seller is giving white Americans a new way to talk about race. Do those conversations actually serve the cause of equality?

Robin DiAngelo at home in Seattle.Credit…Djeneba Aduayom for The New York Times

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In early June, Robin DiAngelo addressed 184 Democratic members of Congress who had gathered, by conference call, for what the party leadership had named a “Democratic Caucus family discussion on race.” It was 10 days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, gave introductory remarks, and soon DiAngelo began. “For all the white people listening right now, thinking I am not talking to you,” she had a message: “I am looking directly in your eyes and saying, ‘It is you.’” She cautioned the white officeholders not to think that because they marched in the 1960s, or served a diverse district, or had a Black roommate in college, they were exempt from self-examination. Until they reckoned with the question of “what does it mean to be white,” they would “continue to enact policies and practices — intentionally or not — that hurt and limit” Black lives.

The invitation to speak to the caucus was just one in a deluge for DiAngelo. Before Floyd’s killing, she was a leading figure in the field of antiracism training or, as she sometimes describes it, antiracism consciousness raising. It’s a field shared by nonwhite and white trainers, and DiAngelo, who is 63 and white, with graying corkscrew curls framing delicate features, had won the admiration of Black activist intellectuals like Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” who praises the “unapologetic critique” of her presentations, her apparent indifference to “the feelings of the white people in the room.” In 2018, when she published her manifesto, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” Michael Eric Dyson provided the foreword. She is “wise and withering,” he wrote, “in her relentless assault on what Langston Hughes termed ‘the ways of white folks.’” “White Fragility” leapt onto the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list, and next came a stream of bookings for public lectures and, mostly, private workshops and speeches given to school faculties and government agencies and university administrations and companies like Microsoft and Google and W.L. Gore & Associates, the maker of Gore-Tex.

But as prominent as DiAngelo was then, she has become, since Floyd’s death, a phenomenon. As outraged protesters rose up across the country, “White Fragility” became Amazon’s No. 1 selling book, beating out even the bankable escapism of the latest “Hunger Games” installment. The book’s small publisher, Beacon Press, had trouble printing fast enough to meet demand; 1.6 million copies, in one form or other, have been sold. And as countless companies and institutions put out statements denouncing racism and expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and committing themselves to inclusivity, DiAngelo’s inbox was flooded with urgent emails: requests to deliver (virtually because of the pandemic) workshops and keynotes at Amazon, Nike, Under Armour, Goldman Sachs. The entreaties went on: Facebook, CVS, American Express, Netflix.

Corporate desperation was matched by unrestrained media enthusiasm. Jimmy Fallon had DiAngelo as a guest on “The Tonight Show” in mid-June and commented, “Wow … wow,” as she spoke, and CNN chose to intersperse a repeated close-up of DiAngelo’s white face — and her instructions to white people on how to begin to battle their racism — with a montage from the protests. Instagram bore tens of thousands of posts about “White Fragility,” a great many of them pictures taken by white readers, with the book as part of a tableau, lying just so on an impeccably ironed bedspread or on a burnished wooden tray between a votive candle and a cup of tea, as if to advertise serenity along with righteousness. Some posts, though, took a different tone: “To be unpicking my privilege, my supremacy, my colonized mind. That’s tough enough. But to be faced with blank looks from fellow whites. That’s the real rusty razor to the carotid artery.”

The surge of attention, DiAngelo told me, made her at once leery and hopeful. She worried that the posts were “performative,” the book “just a badge.” Yet, she said, “there’s a sense of scales falling from people’s eyes,” mostly because of the killings of Floyd and, before that, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, but also, she believed, because of the work she and her antiracism colleagues have been doing. She felt a similar mix about the ASAP emails from corporations. “The very urgency itself says you don’t have a very deep understanding of how hard this work is, and how long it takes and how ongoing it needs to be,” she said. “Racism is not going to go away by August, so how about we do it in August?”

I’d been talking with DiAngelo for a year when Floyd was killed, and with other antiracism teachers for almost as long. Demand has recently spiked throughout the field, though the clamor had already been building, particularly since the election of Donald Trump. Glenn E. Singleton, a Black trainer whose firm, Courageous Conversation, has been giving workshops for over two decades, saw a 105 percent rise in business between November 2016 and February 2020. Bookings plummeted because of Covid-19, and then, with the Floyd protests, he said, he experienced “extraordinary” demand. Darnisa Amante-Jackson, another important Black voice in the sector, started the Disruptive Equity Education Project four years ago and was hired by school districts and charter-school networks in 15 states. She is now receiving a new level of interest, especially from corporations “eager,” she said in June, “to be authentic to the B.L.M. messaging they’re putting out.” As their teaching becomes more and more widespread, antiracism educators are shaping the language that gets spoken — and the lessons being learned — about race in America.

Last July, in San Francisco, I attended three of DiAngelo’s sessions. “I wasn’t raised to see my race as saying anything relevant about me,” she declared to a largely white crowd in the Mission district’s 360-seat Brava Theater. Her audience had paid between $65 and $160 per ticket to hear her speak for three and a half hours. The place was sold out. “I will not coddle your comfort,” she went on. She gestured crisply with her hands. “I’m going to name and admit to things white people rarely name and admit.” Scattered Black listeners called out encouragement. Then she specified the predominant demographic in the packed house: white progressives. “I know you. Oh, white progressives are my specialty. Because I am a white progressive.” She paced tightly on the stage. “And I have a racist worldview.”

Soon she projected facts and photographs onto the screen behind her. No lone image offered anything surprising, yet the series caused a cumulative jolt: the percentage of state governors who are white, of the 10 richest people in the country who are white, of the “people who directed the 100 top-grossing films of all time, worldwide” — all the percentages over 90 — and so on. The onslaught of statistics was followed by a seemingly innocent picture of an all-white wedding celebration (about which DiAngelo asked her white listeners whether their own weddings were or would be just as pale), a photo of an all-white funeral (“from cradle to grave,” she said, white people, no matter how liberal, tend to exist in overwhelmingly white spaces “without anyone conveying that we’ve lost anything — with a deeply internalized absence of any sense of loss”), a screenshot of a Jeopardy board — during the semifinals of the 2014 collegiate championship — where the only category left entirely unselected by the contestants was African-American history (“we don’t know our history,” we “separate it out and see it as their history”), all of this culminating in a photograph showing a female silhouette standing without an umbrella in a torrential downpour. Messages of pre-eminent white value and Black insignificance, DiAngelo pronounced, “are raining down on us 24/7, and there are no umbrellas.” She declaimed: “My psychosocial development was inculcated in this water,” and “internalized white superiority is seeping out of my pores.” And: “White supremacy — yes, it includes extremists or neo-Nazis, but it is also a highly descriptive sociological term for the society we live in, a society in which white people are elevated as the ideal for humanity, and everyone else is a deficient version.” And Black people, she said, are cast as the most deficient. “There is something profoundly anti-Black in this culture.”

Periodically, as DiAngelo made the concept of systemic racism palpable, she asked everyone to team up with seatmates to answer a question. I had found a spot toward the back, between Brendon Woods, the head of the public defender’s office for Oakland and its surrounding county, and Vanessa Rush Southern, senior minister at San Francisco’s First Unitarian Universalist Society. Woods, who is Black, had booked DiAngelo to lecture to his staff two months earlier, as a way to make the office feel safer for Black staff members and better able to wage its legal battles. The points she made in the theater, he’d heard before. He didn’t mind at all. “The first time I was kind of in awe,” he told me later; “the second time I was taking notes.” He felt she was exposing the fathomless depth of what he was working against, of what was embodied in the Alameda County jail, where, though Black people make up 11 percent of the county’s population, about half of the 1,800 inmates are Black. Her portrait of whiteness, he said, drove him all the harder to “really, really promote diversity in my office, and, externally, to get people of color into law school, into power.” He recalled a prosecutor saying to him, about a client, “Go tell your boy to take this deal.” DiAngelo was illuminating all that lay beneath such casual bigotry and bias. “If she was going to be here next week, I would go again.”

Partway through her presentation, DiAngelo asked us, “What are some of the ways your race has shaped your life?” She told us to give our answers to each other and added that if we were white and happened to be sitting beside someone of color, we were forbidden to ask the person of color to speak first. It might be good policy, mostly, for white people to do more listening than talking, but, she said with knowing humor, it could also be a subtle way to avoid blunders, maintain a mask of sensitivity and stay comfortable. She wanted the white audience members to feel as uncomfortable as possible.

In our group of three, Southern, who is white, went first. Like Woods, she was already steeped in DiAngelo’s ideas; Southern had led two church book groups in discussing “White Fragility.” She was fully persuaded that, as she said to me afterward, “we’re all racist in that we’re swimming in a culture that is racist,” and that “we don’t think, as white people, of white as a race that comes with all kinds of conditioning.” Yet, in the moment, in response to DiAngelo’s question, she struggled. She couldn’t articulate much of anything about how she’d been shaped by being white.

I went next. I, too, was ready for everything I heard from DiAngelo. In fact, I knew this very question was coming. Just the day before, I’d been to a session she ran for a fractious city department that agreed to let me watch as long as I didn’t describe the event; the department’s equity team had brought her in to spur white self-awareness. But I had failed to speak about my whiteness as formative. That is, I noted that my color gave me infinite advantages, but the words, while sincere, were passionless. I emphasized instead that three of my five nonfiction books were about race, that I thought about race constantly, that back in junior high my best friend was one of the few Black students in my school, part of an experimental busing program in the early ’70s, and that the way our friendship ended still haunted me, that I’d betrayed him badly.

At some point after our answers, DiAngelo poked fun at the myriad ways that white people “credential” themselves as not-racist. I winced. I hadn’t meant to imply that I was anywhere close to free of racism, yet was I “credentialing”? And today, after a quick disclaimer acknowledging the problem with what I was about to do, I heard myself offering up, again, these same nonracist bona fides and neglecting to speak about the effects of having been soaked, all my life, by racist rain. I was, DiAngelo would have said, slipping into the pattern she first termed “white fragility” in an academic article in 2011: the propensity of white people to fend off suggestions of racism, whether by absurd denials (“I don’t see color”) or by overly emotional displays of defensiveness or solidarity (DiAngelo’s book has a chapter titled “White Women’s Tears” and subtitled “But you are my sister, and I share your pain!”) or by varieties of the personal history I’d provided.

White fragility, in DiAngelo’s formulation, is far from weakness. It is “weaponized.” Its evasions are actually a liberal white arsenal, a means of protecting a frail moral ego, defending a righteous self-image and, ultimately, perpetuating racial hierarchies, because what goes unexamined will never be upended. White fragility is a way for well-meaning white people to guard what race has granted them, all they haven’t earned.


But was I being fragile? Was I being defensive or just trying to share something more personal, intimate and complex than DiAngelo’s all-encompassing sociological perspective? She taught, throughout the afternoon, that the impulse to individualize is in itself a white trait, a way to play down the societal racism all white people have thoroughly absorbed.

Southern and I turned to Woods, wanting to hear him on DiAngelo’s question, but DiAngelo likes to keep these bits of conversation brief, so that no white listener can escape her arguments. She cut everyone off just as Woods was about to speak. As soon as our focus returned to the stage, she returned to white supremacy and how she had been imbued with it since birth. “When my mother was pregnant with me, who delivered me in the hospital — who owned the hospital? And who came in that night and mopped the floor?” She paused so we could picture the complexions of those people. Systemic racism, she announced, is “embedded in our cultural definitions of what is normal, what is correct, what is professionalism, what is intelligence, what is beautiful, what is valuable.”

DiAngelo grew up around the Bay Area in California, one of three girls raised by a single mother who was, toward the end of her short life, battling cancer, barely employed and prone to violent outbursts with her daughters. Checks bounced; the family moved between ramshackle rentals. “I once had a teacher take my hand,” she told me, “and hold it up to everyone as an example of poor hygiene, and say, ‘Tell your mother to wash you.’” In her talks, DiAngelo emphasizes that she “knew class shame at an early age,” but that no one should equate the hardships of class with the injuries inflicted and obstacles imposed by racism.

After their mother’s death, DiAngelo and her sisters moved in with their father, a sheet-metal worker. “Every month my father took out the staples in Playboy and framed the centerfold and put it up in his den,” she said. “Every inch was covered in this way. He was a super-old-school son of a bitch. Every one of us ran away at one point or another.” DiAngelo fled but didn’t get far. She came back and finished high school but figured “college was for smart people” and wound up a single mother, waiting tables in Seattle. She was 30, with a 6-year-old daughter, when the dread of growing old in a waitress’s uniform made her open the Yellow Pages under “Colleges.” Four and a half years later, she had a 4.0 grade point average and was Seattle University’s commencement speaker.

She took a job counseling pregnant teenagers, and then, in the ’90s, signed on as a diversity trainer with a program to address racism within Washington’s social and health services department. She was, at the time, in a relationship with a woman; she decided that her sexuality made her diverse and empathetic enough. “I’m gay, I’m liberal, I can do this,” she said, summing up her attitude. “But I was so clueless about race.” The trainers received a short period of instruction. With that, she was sent out across the state to run workshops that were supposed to make the department’s largely white staff aware of its unconscious bias and systemic racism. For DiAngelo herself, though, the most crucial revelations came whenever she was paired with a Black co-facilitator. The hostility of the trainees hit them differently. After sessions, her partner would evince “hurt, frustration, a triggering of past trauma,” DiAngelo said. And she remembered her most frequent Black partner calling her out for talking over her repeatedly when it was just the two of them in conversation. “I said, ‘No, no, I talk over everybody, that’s just my personality,’ and she said, ‘When you do it to me, it’s racism, because I have spent my entire life being interrupted and talked over.’” It was an early, indelible lesson in what DiAngelo would eventually see as her own insidious whiteness.

She discovered, during her five years with the anti-bias program, that she had a talent for pushing white people to recognize what they were blind to. But, she said, “I always had a poor girl’s dream of being a professor.” She earned a doctorate in multicultural education from the University of Washington in 2004 and soon was teaching and writing in the area of whiteness studies, which, though its intellectual beginnings can be traced as far back as W.E.B. Du Bois, started to spread in academia in the ’90s. The discipline explores white identity and culture and the covert mechanisms of white power. “I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious,” one of the discipline’s influential thinkers, Peggy McIntosh, a researcher at the Wellesley Centers for Women, has written. “White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear and blank checks.”

Borrowing from feminist scholarship and critical race theory, whiteness studies challenges the very nature of knowledge, asking whether what we define as scientific research and scholarly rigor, and what we venerate as objectivity, can be ways of excluding alternate perspectives and preserving white dominance. DiAngelo likes to ask, paraphrasing the philosopher Lorraine Code: “From whose subjectivity does the ideal of objectivity come?”

DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” article was, in a sense, an epistemological exercise. It examined white not-knowing. When it was published in 2011 in The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, it reached the publication’s niche audience. But three years later it was quoted in Seattle’s alternative newspaper The Stranger, during a fierce debate — with white defensiveness on full view — about the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s casting of white actors as Asians in a production of “The Mikado.” “That changed my life,” she said. The phrase “white fragility” went viral, and requests to speak started to soar; she expanded the article into a book and during the year preceding Covid-19 gave eight to 10 presentations a month, sometimes pro bono but mostly at up to $15,000 per event.

The language she coined caught on just weeks before Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, and just as Black Lives Matter gained momentum. White liberals were growing more determined to be allies in the cause of racial justice — or at least, as DiAngelo always cautions, to look and feel like allies: She has only tenuous faith that white people, whatever their politics, are genuinely willing to surrender their racialized rungs on society’s ladders. And then Trump’s election stoked white liberals into an even more heightened “receptivity,” she said, to the critique of their failings that she laid out in her book and workshops. Institutions, too, began to be desperate to prove good intentions. For almost everyone, she assumes, there is a mingling of motives, a wish for easy affirmation (“they can say they heard Robin DiAngelo speak”) and a measure of moral hunger.

Last September, I joined a two-day workshop, run by Singleton’s Courageous Conversation, for teachers, staff and administrators from four Connecticut school districts. From the front of a hotel conference room in Hartford, Marcus Moore, a Courageous Conversation trainer, said that his mother is a white woman from Germany, that his biological father was a Black man from Jamaica and that he identifies as Black. (The father who raised him, he let me know later, was a Black former sharecropper from Mississippi.) He projected a sequence of slides showing the persistence and degree of the academic achievement gap between Black and white students throughout the country, and asked us, at our racially mixed tables, to discuss the reasons behind these bar graphs.

At my table, Malik Pemberton, a Black racial-equity coach at a middle school, who had been a teenage father, wanted to talk, he said in the softest of voices, about “accountability,” about how “it starts inside the household in terms of how the child is going to interpret and value education,” about what can happen in schools “without consequences, where they can’t suspend.” He wasn’t suggesting this line of thought as the only explanation but as something to grapple with. One of Courageous Conversation’s “affiliate trainers,” stationed at the table, immediately rerouted the conversation, and minutes later Moore drew all eyes back to him and pronounced, “The cause of racial disparities is racism. If I show you data that’s about race, we need to be talking about racism. Don’t get caught up in detours.” He wasn’t referring to racism’s legacy. He meant that current systemic racism is the explanation for devastating differences in learning, that the prevailing white culture will not permit Black kids to succeed in school.

The theme of what white culture does not allow, of white society’s not only supreme but also almost-absolute power, is common to today’s antiracism teaching and runs throughout Singleton’s and DiAngelo’s programs. One of the varied ways DiAngelo imparts the lesson is through the story of Jackie Robinson. She tells her audiences — whether in person or, now, online — to alter the language of the narrative about the Brooklyn Dodgers star. Rather than “he broke through the color line,” a phrase that highlights Robinson’s triumph, we should say, “Jackie Robinson, the first Black man whites allowed to play major-league baseball.” Robinson fades, agency ablated; whiteness occupies the forefront.

Running slightly beneath or openly on the surface of DiAngelo’s and Singleton’s teaching is a set of related ideas about the essence and elements of white culture. For DiAngelo, the elements include the “ideology of individualism,” which insists that meritocracy is mostly real, that hard work and talent will be justly rewarded. White culture, for her, is all about habits of oppressive thought that are taken for granted and rarely perceived, let alone questioned. One “unnamed logic of Whiteness,” she wrote with her frequent co-author, the education professor Ozlem Sensoy, in a 2017 paper published in The Harvard Educational Review, “is the presumed neutrality of White European Enlightenment epistemology.” The paper is an attempt to persuade universities that if they want to diversify their faculties, they should put less weight on conventional hiring criteria. The modern university, it says, “with its ‘experts’ and its privileging of particular forms of knowledge over others (e.g., written over oral, history over memory, rationalism over wisdom)” has “validated and elevated positivistic, White Eurocentric knowledge over non-White, Indigenous and non-European knowledges.” Such academic prose isn’t the language of DiAngelo’s workshops or book, but the idea of a society rigged at its intellectual core underpins her lessons.

Singleton, who holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford, and who did stints in advertising and college admissions before founding what’s now known as Courageous Conversation in 1992, talks about white culture in similar ways. There is the myth of meritocracy. And valuing “written communication over other forms,” he told me, is “a hallmark of whiteness,” which leads to the denigration of Black children in school. Another “hallmark” is “scientific, linear thinking. Cause and effect.” He said, “There’s this whole group of people who are named the scientists. That’s where you get into this whole idea that if it’s not codified in scientific thought that it can’t be valid.” He spoke about how the ancient Egyptians had “ideas about how humanity works that never had that scientific-hypothesis construction” and so aren’t recognized. “This is a good way of dismissing people. And this,” he continued, shifting forward thousands of years, “is one of the challenges in the diversity-equity-inclusion space; folks keep asking for data. How do you quantify, in a way that is scientific — numbers and that kind of thing — what people feel when they’re feeling marginalized?” For Singleton, society’s primary intellectual values are bound up with this marginalization.

In Hartford, Moore directed us to a page in our training booklets: a list of white values. Along with “ ‘The King’s English’ rules,” “objective, rational, linear thinking” and “quantitative emphasis,” there was “work before play,” “plan for future” and “adherence to rigid time schedules.” Moore expounded that white culture is obsessed with “mechanical time” — clock time — and punishes students for lateness. This, he said, is but one example of how whiteness undercuts Black kids. “The problems come when we say this way of being is the way to be.” In school and on into the working world, he lectured, tremendous harm is done by the pervasive rule that Black children and adults must “bend to whiteness, in substance, style and format.”

Halfway through the training, Moore asked us to fill out a checklist of racial privilege in our booklets. The list had been adapted from the work of Peggy McIntosh. We rated ourselves, 0 through 5, on items including “I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to ‘the person in charge,’ I will be facing a person of my race”; “I can choose blemish cover or bandages in ‘flesh’ color and have them more or less match my skin”; “Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability”; “If a police officer pulls me over, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race”; and “I can comfortably avoid, ignore or minimize the impact of racism on my life.” Then we tallied up our scores, wrote our numbers in big print on sheets of paper and stood along the conference room walls in numerical order, numbers held to our chests. Our arrangement — white participants along one wall with the highest numbers, Black participants along the opposite wall with the lowest — probably wasn’t a revelation to anyone. But there was something powerful in the moment’s physicality, in our facing each other across 40 feet of conference-room tables and carpet, in the starkness of our divide; it spoke loudly, with reverberations, about the vast differences in our experience.

Two people, though, stood out. Pemberton, the racial-equity coach who was a teenage father, placed himself close to neither cluster of trainees, having given himself a middling score on the privilege scale. “I’m not saying discrimination doesn’t exist, but I’m not that sensitive,” he said, when I asked him, during a break, about his number. “I made poor choices when I was younger, and now I’m climbing out. I believe in accountability,” he repeated. He had been a school security guard before rising to his current job. He was working his way toward a bachelor’s degree alongside his son.

Mérida Carrión, a Puerto Rican-American woman from my table, a counselor who makes home visits and works with an after-school program for at-risk teenagers, many of them Black or Latino, told us that she grew up hearing not only “spic” but “the N-word,” because her father is dark. Now she stood at the extreme end of the white cluster, with a very high number. Partly, she explained later, her position was due to confusion about how to calculate her score, but partly it was about something else. “Racism is abrasive, but I developed a thick skin,” she said, and added, “It hurts me to hear my students carry race like a disability. The risk is that they can’t see the potential to be successful.”

One critique leveled at antiracism training is that it just may not work. Frank Dobbin, a Harvard sociology professor, has published research on attempts, over three decades, to combat bias in over 800 U.S. companies, including a 2016 study with Alexandra Kalev in The Harvard Business Review. (As far back as the early ’60s, he recounts in his book “Inventing Equal Opportunity,” Western Electric, responding to a Kennedy-administration initiative to enhance equity, presented lectures by Kenneth Clark and James Baldwin to company managers.) Dobbin’s research shows that the numbers of women or people of color in management do not increase with most anti-bias education. “There just isn’t much evidence that you can do anything to change either explicit or implicit bias in a half-day session,” Dobbin warns. “Stereotypes are too ingrained.”

When we first talked, and I described DiAngelo’s approach, he said, “I certainly agree with what she’s saying” about our white-supremacist society. But he noted that new research that he’s revising for publication suggests that anti-bias training can backfire, with adverse effects especially on Black people, perhaps, he speculated, because training, whether consciously or subconsciously, “activates stereotypes.” When we spoke again in June, he emphasized an additional finding from his data: the likelihood of backlash “if people feel that they’re being forced to go to diversity training to conform with social norms or laws.”

Donald Green, a professor of political science at Columbia, and Betsy Levy Paluck, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton, have analyzed almost 1,000 studies of programs to lessen prejudice, from racism to homophobia, in situations from workplaces to laboratory settings. “We currently do not know whether a wide range of programs and policies tend to work on average,” they concluded in a 2009 paper published in The Annual Review of Psychology, which incorporated measures of attitudes and behaviors. They’ve just refined their analysis, with the help of two Princeton researchers, Chelsey Clark and Roni Porat. “As the study quality goes up,” Paluck told me, “the effect size dwindles.”

Still, none of the research, with its dim evaluation of efficacy, has yet focused on the particular bold, antisupremacist consciousness raising that has taken hold over the past few years — and that may well become even more bold now. “I’m not afraid of the word ‘confrontational,’” Singleton said, and he predicted, in one of his more optimistic moments during our post-Floyd talks, that the society will be all the more ready for this because “the racism we’re seeing is so graphically violent,” leaving white people less willing or able to “operate in delusion.”

Another critique has been aimed at DiAngelo, as her book sales have skyrocketed. From both sides of the political divide, she has been accused of peddling racial reductionism by branding all white people as supremacist. The Fox News host Tucker Carlson has called her ideas more racist than Louis Farrakhan’s, and the journalist Matt Taibbi has railed that her arguments amount to a kind of “Hitlerian race theory.” This isn’t Singleton’s concern. He thinks back to a long line of Black writers on race, and what he sees in the DiAngelo phenomenon is that “it takes a white person to say these things for white people to listen. In some ways, that is the very indication of the problem in this country.” He wrestled painfully with this at the outset of his career. At a training he conducted for educators in San Diego in the mid-’90s, there was “a collision,” he recalled, between him and the white people in the room. “I lost it, and they lost it,” he said; the session came to an early end, because of their “resistance to Black intelligence” and because “they were struggling with me as a Black person. As people of color who are facilitating learning about race for white people, we need to be very talented in terms of our facilitation skills.” One way he has grounded himself and gained poise is by positioning himself, in his mind, as the descendant of ancestral Africans who were “the first teachers.”

Yet there may be something worth heeding in those who have resisted today’s antiracism training. Leslie Chislett, who is white and has attended around 10 antiracism workshops since 2017, was, until last year, an executive with New York City’s Department of Education. Some of the trainings she took predate the city’s current schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, but he has been their strongest advocate, in the belief that the compulsory workshops given to teachers and administrators throughout the system are essential to improving the education of Black and Hispanic children. Chislett filed suit in October against Carranza and the department. At least five other high-level, white D.O.E. executives have filed similar suits or won settlements from the city over the past 14 months. The trainings lie at the heart of their claims.

Earlier in her career, in a suburban school district outside Denver, Chislett led an effort to get more students of color into gifted-and-talented programs. More recently, in New York City — whose public-school system educates, or fails to educate, more children of color than any other in the nation — she was co-director of a drive with the goal of getting a broad slate of Advanced Placement courses into all the city’s public high schools. “The availability of A.P. classes,” she told me, “communicates to kids that it is possible for them to exceed the regular curriculum and can help teachers see that many kids have the potential to succeed at college-level course work. It’s about creating a culture of high expectations.”

Some lessons of the antiracism trainings weren’t easy for Chislett to embrace. Colleagues on her multiracial A.P. for All team accused her, during and outside the workshops, of hindering exercises and refusing to acknowledge her own white supremacy, her own racism. Hostility ran high, and in 2018, according to Chislett, one white team member handed her a copy of DiAngelo’s original “White Fragility” journal article, suggesting that she needed to study it.

During a training in January 2019 run by Amante-Jackson, which Chislett recorded, Amante-Jackson sounded notes that were anti-intellectual by mainstream standards, declaring that “this culture says you have to be most expert; you have to be perfect; it has to be said perfectly.” She continued, “The more degrees you have, the more expert you are. I think back — the most brilliant people in my life don’t even have diplomas from middle school. But we have been taught that you can only value people when they’ve got letters behind their name. All of that is coming from the water” — the water of white supremacy. “Eighty-eight percent of the entire world are people of color,” she claimed earlier in the session, “but 96 percent of the world’s historical content is white.” She went on to present “some characteristics of whiteness,” prominent among them “an obsession with the written word. If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist.”

According to Chislett, during a June 2018 Courageous Conversation workshop that she attended, Ruby Ababio-Fernandez, a designated co-facilitator, who is also a D.O.E. official, proclaimed, “There is white toxicity in the air, and we all breathe it in.” The trainees were instructed to work with their tablemates, list qualities of white culture on a sheet of poster-size paper and hang their paper on the wall for everyone to read. Chislett felt she knew well by then the sorts of things they were meant to be writing, values that were critiqued at previous sessions: “individualism,” “Protestant work ethic,” “worship of data,” “worship of the written word,” “perfectionism,” “ideology of whiteness,” “denial.”

She told her group that she wasn’t going to take part; this derailed the table’s effort, and they wound up displaying an almost-empty sheet of paper. A young, white assistant principal at the table started to cry, Chislett recounted, and announced to the room, “I don’t want to be affiliated with this poster.” Chislett told everyone that she took responsibility for the barren sheet of paper. A Black principal at another table called out to her, “I feel you’re a horrible person.” Many of these details are outlined in Chislett’s lawsuit. A Chislett colleague and critic who was at this workshop confirmed most of Chislett’s account but contested the use of the word “toxicity.” The colleague noted that the Black principal was “extremely triggered” but didn’t remember exactly what the principal said. Ababio-Fernandez also confirmed the tenor of the session but disputed Chislett’s recollection of specific language.

Chislett eventually wound up demoted from the leadership of A.P. for All, and her suit argues that the trainings created a workplace filled with antiwhite distrust and discrimination. Some of her distress about the workshops is keenly personal, and if you listen to her complain about being “stereotyped” as a white product of a supremacist society, it’s possible to hear her as DiAngelo surely would: as fixating on her wounds to evade self-reflection.

When I spoke with several members of her former team, they praised the workshops. Courtney Winkfield, a white colleague and sometime facilitator, talked about her own “dysconsciousness,” a term antiracist educators use in discussing mind-sets that preserve oppression. She said that the trainings “gave me the opportunity to unpack my own socialization as a white person — socialization that has been really subversively hidden from me.” And there were plenty of lancing words about Chislett’s leadership. “It was her way or the highway,” Deonca Renée, a Black team member, said of Chislett’s peremptory style, claiming that Chislett favored white colleagues.

Yet whatever the merits of Chislett’s lawsuit and the counteraccusations against her, she is also concerned about something larger. “It’s absurd,” she said about much of the training she’s been through. “The city has tens of millions invested in A.P. for All, so my team can give kids access to A.P. classes and help them prepare for A.P. exams that will help them get college degrees, and we’re all supposed to think that writing and data are white values? How do all these people not see how inconsistent this is?”


This apparent inconsistency, which seemed to lurk within all the workshops I attended, might feel peripheral in a moment dominated by video of a white police officer’s knee jammed fatally against the neck of a Black man for more than eight minutes, but the implications may be profound and even crippling. I talked with DiAngelo, Singleton, Amante-Jackson and Kendi about the possible problem. If the aim is to dismantle white supremacy, to redistribute power and influence, I asked them in various forms, do the messages of today’s antiracism training risk undermining the goal by depicting an overwhelmingly rigged society in which white people control nearly all the outcomes, by inculcating the idea that the traditional skills needed to succeed in school and in the upper levels of the workplace are somehow inherently white, by spreading the notion that teachers shouldn’t expect traditional skills as much from their Black students, by unwittingly teaching white people that Black people require allowances, warrant extraordinary empathy and can’t really shape their own destinies?

With DiAngelo, my worries led us to discuss her Harvard Educational Review paper, which cited “rationalism” as a white criterion for hiring, a white qualification that should be reconsidered. Shouldn’t we be hiring faculty, I asked her, who fully possess, prize and can impart strong reasoning skills to students, because students will need these abilities as a requirement for high-paying, high-status jobs?

In answering, she returned to the theme of unconscious white privilege, comparing it to the way right-handed people are unaware of how frequently the world favors right-handedness. I pulled us away from the metaphorical, giving the example of corporate law as a lucrative profession in which being hired depends on acute reasoning. She replied that if a criterion “consistently and measurably leads to certain people” being excluded, then we have to “challenge” the criterion. “It’s the outcome,” she emphasized; the result indicated the racism.

Then she said abruptly, “Capitalism is so bound up with racism. I avoid critiquing capitalism — I don’t need to give people reasons to dismiss me. But capitalism is dependent on inequality, on an underclass. If the model is profit over everything else, you’re not going to look at your policies to see what is most racially equitable.” While I was asking about whether her thinking is conducive to helping Black people displace white people on high rungs and achieve something much closer to equality in our badly flawed world, it seemed that she, even as she gave workshops on the brutal hierarchies of here and now, was entertaining an alternate and even revolutionary reality. She talked about top law firms hiring for “resiliency and compassion.”

Singleton spoke along similar lines. I asked whether guiding administrators and teachers to put less value, in the classroom, on capacities like written communication and linear thinking might result in leaving Black kids less ready for college and competition in the labor market. “If you hold that white people are always going to be in charge of everything,” he said, “then that makes sense.” He invoked, instead, a journey toward “a new world, a world, first and foremost, where we have elevated the consciousness, where we pay attention to the human being.” The new world, he continued, would be a place where we aren’t “armed to distrust, to be isolated, to hate,” a place where we “actually love.”

Amante-Jackson, too, sounded all but utopian as she envisioned a movement away “from capitalist, Western” ideals and described a future education system that would be transformed: built around students’ “telling their stories and listening to the stories of others” and creating “in us the feeling that we belong to each other as people.” Before I phoned Kendi, I reread “How to Be an Antiracist.” “Capitalism is essentially racist; racism is essentially capitalist,” he writes. “They were birthed together from the same unnatural causes, and they shall one day die together from unnatural causes.” I asked him whether, given the world as it is, many of the lessons of today’s antiracism training might inadvertently hamper the struggle for racial equality. “I think Americans need to decide whether this is a multicultural nation or not,” he said. “If Americans decide that it is, what that means is we’re going to have multiple cultural standards and multiple perspectives. It creates a scenario in which we would have to have multiple understandings of what achievement is and what qualifications are. That is part of the problem. We haven’t decided, as a country, even among progressives and liberals, whether we desire a multicultural nation or a unicultural nation.”

Ron Ferguson, a Black economist, faculty member at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative, is a political liberal who gets impatient with such thinking about conventional standards and qualifications. “The cost,” he told me in January, “is underemphasizing excellence and performance and the need to develop competitive prowess.” With a soft, rueful laugh, he said I wouldn’t find many economists sincerely taking part in the kind of workshops I was writing about. “When the same group of people keeps winning over and over again,” he added, summarizing the logic of the trainers, “it’s like the game must be rigged.” He didn’t reject a degree of rigging, but said, “I tend to go more quickly to the question of how can we get prepared better to just play the game.”

When we talked again in June, the interracial protests had infused Ferguson with some optimism. “I have this mental image of plants that have been growing in the shade,” he said of the impediments Black people too often have to take for granted in our society, “and all of a sudden the shade starts to be removed, and these plants start to thrive in ways they never imagined they could. I think there’s a possibility of a blossoming if the society starts to see us as fully human, removing the cloud of white-supremacist assumptions.”

But, he suggested, “in this moment we’re at risk of giving short shrift to dealing with qualifications. You can try to be competitive by equipping yourself to run the race that’s already scheduled, or you can try to change the race. There may be some things about the race I’d like to change, but my priority is to get people prepared to run the race that’s already scheduled.”

DiAngelo gave a presentation, last July, at Levi Strauss & Co.’s corporate headquarters. Here was a chance to glean a hint of whether her consciousness raising might have a meaningful effect within the world as we know it. The event was held in a gleaming space, with a bleached wood floor and brightly painted exposed pipes, a coffee cart and billboards featuring models of various races sporting the company’s denim.

The turnout of around 45 employees — almost all of them white — felt sparse in the expansive room. Before DiAngelo got started, the director of Levi’s diversity team at the time told me that the company’s leadership probably wouldn’t be in the audience. On another floor, the corporation was holding its first shareholders meeting since going public four months earlier. Levi’s has a history of taking socially responsible stances; its motto is “profit through principles.” But this morning, with the shareholders elsewhere, the leadership wouldn’t be listening to DiAngelo.

She showed her facts and photographs and lectured on the supremacist worldview that, inevitably, saturates white people and seeps from our pores, and again, though this was my third DiAngelo session in as many days, I was moved. So was a high-level manager sitting near me; it turned out that there were, in the room, a handful of people in influential roles. “I walked out with a heightened awareness of my white privilege,” the manager said afterward, “but I don’t know what Levi’s was trying to accomplish — this was a miss for me.” He had wide experience in the corporate world, and he commented, “Like at most companies, we’re lighter and lighter and lighter the higher you go.” He didn’t imagine this changing anytime soon, and when I called the diversity director to ask what Levi’s hoped to gain from DiAngelo’s workshop and how it would judge its progress on racial issues, I was told that the goal was “to get conversations started” but that to his knowledge the company kept no data reflecting diversity in senior positions or promotion rates by race. This was not unlike what I heard from Gore, whose spokeswoman praised DiAngelo’s workshops there over the last few years but who insisted, as recently as this June, that Gore is “not traditionally hierarchical” and so has no numbers on racial diversity in positions of control.

In the aftermath of Floyd’s killing, Levi’s, along with so many other institutions, put out a statement about the “brutal truth” of both American racism and inequality inside its own “house.” The company has booked another two sessions with DiAngelo. Perhaps more encouraging, it has pledged to be transparent about the racial makeup of the company’s leadership. It just posted the data on its website. But less encouraging — despite a diversity program that was started three years ago — are the numbers themselves. Only 2 percent of the company’s top 250 or so positions are filled by Black people, and the executive team and corporate board have no Black people at all, though the company has announced that it will fill its next opening on the board with a Black person. When I checked in with the high-level manager, he described the chief executive as caring earnestly about racial issues but also noted that this spring, during the pandemic, the company furloughed thousands of its low-level — and most diverse — workers, while the company chose to pay out dividends to shareholders, including to the chief executive, a reward of hundreds of thousands of dollars that he chose not to forgo.

DiAngelo and Singleton are confident that the lessons they teach are the right ones, but about whether our society is on the verge of true racial progress, confidence comes and goes. Singleton talked in June about antiracism being pitted against the immense coupled forces of “white dysconsciousness and power” and told me that he hadn’t watched the video of Floyd’s killing, because “I believe once I’ve seen the video it will change the person I am. And the person I am is already too much for the society.” He meant that his tone, if not his message, is reserved, and that if he watched the video, fury might overtake him. “My grandfather’s brother was lynched in the South,” he said, and he immediately moved on, saying that he had to preserve his ability to “create this human fabric,” to stitch connections through understanding rather than rip things utterly apart. The video would take him “to a level of doubting humanity, doubting that we can extract from humanity the disease of racism.”

DiAngelo hopes that her consciousness raising is at least having a ripple effect, contributing to a societal shift in norms. “You’re watching network TV, and they’re saying ‘systemic racism’ — that it’s in the lexicon is kind of incredible,” she said. So was the fact that “young people understand and use language like ‘white supremacy.’” She listed more evidence for optimism: “It’s in the extent of the protests. It’s in banning the confederate flag at NASCAR races. The renaming of military bases. Walmart agreeing to stop locking the ethnic hair-care products. We need a culture where a person who resists speaking up against racism is uncomfortable, and right this moment it looks like we’re in that culture.”

Yet she described a warning from her daily life in Seattle. “I was in the supermarket the other day, and over the cheese section was a small sign saying, ‘Black Lives Matter.’” Its lettering was childlike, in a cheery array of pink, green and blue, and it was plainly mass-produced. “It was like a Hallmark card,” she said. The phrase floated above the meticulous display of provolone, fontina and Emmentaler, stripped of all power, a message of fleeting intent.


Author: Daniel Bergner

MR Online | Capital Comes to America: Charles H. Kerr & Company and the Cross-Atlantic Journey of Marx’s Master Work

MR Online | Capital Comes to America: Charles H. Kerr & Company and the Cross-Atlantic Journey of Marx’s Master Work

Originally published: Historical Materialism (July 14, 2020)   | 

The appearance in English of the three volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital, published by the Chicago-based socialist publisher, Charles H. Kerr & Company between 1906 and 1909, marked a significant event in the global dissemination of socialist thought. That project would not have taken place without the conscious internationalist commitment of Kerr & Co.’s activists to provide the key works of Marxism to the U.S. working class movement. As such, the publication of Kerr’s Capital, a standard throughout the English-speaking world until the mid-1960s, cannot be fully appreciated without some understanding of those who carried it out and how the undertaking came about.


Born in 1860, Charles Hope Kerr apprenticed in Chicago’s publishing trade in the early 1880s after graduating from the then State University of Wisconsin. He started the firm bearing his name in 1886 and gradually turned his energies toward the publication of radical titles as his social and political consciousness evolved due in large part to the Windy City’s harsh social and political realities and glaring contradictions.1 Attracted during the depression ridden 1890s to the populist reform movement with its utopian hope of building of a ‘Cooperative Commonwealth’, Kerr published an increasing array of books and pamphlet tracts on monetary reform, railroad regulation and government control of the banking industry, as well as the monthly New Occasions, ‘a magazine of social and industrial progress’.

During the latter part of that decade, the company published an expanding list of titles by utopian socialists, radical feminists, anarchists, single-taxers, bimetallists, Fabians, freethinkers, evolutionists as well as a number of utopian panacea novels. In 1897, Kerr launched The New Time: A magazine of social progress which he later described as a ‘semi-populist, semi-socialist magazine’. Along contributions from a who’s who of turn-of-the-century American reform, its pages carried occasional communications from socialist labour champion Eugene Debs, as well as a regular ‘Scientific Socialism column of news and views on the progress of Social Democracy in the U.S. and abroad.2

Kerr’s connection with the Socialist International had roots in 1899. The Chicago branch of the Socialist Labor Party (SLP), one of the earliest organisational expressions of Marxian socialism in the US, launched the weekly Worker’s Call that March and Kerr soon cultivated fraternal relations with the paper’s editor, AlgieM. Simons.3

Like Kerr, an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin, Simons initially became acquainted with Marxist thought while a research assistant to the progressive professor of political economy, Richard T. Ely. Upon graduating in 1895, he took a job with the University of Chicago settlement house on the city’s South Side, where he researched working class living conditions in the stockyards districts for the Municipal Board of Charities. Simons’ experiences and observations in the ‘Back of the Yards’ left him morally outraged and disillusioned with gradual liberal reform efforts and he moved leftward. He joined the SLP in 1897 and became editor of the Worker’s Call.4

Simons’s vigorous commitment to ‘scientific socialism’ had immense impact on Charles and his wife, May Walden Kerr. She later recalled that the two of them had ‘sopped up a lot crazy ideas that we had to give up to make way for Marxism’ and how the articulate, analytical strength of Simons’s arguments among the small circle of activists who regularly gathered at the Kerrs’ home engendered an enthusiasm ‘that nearly set the house afire’.5

As her husband later put it, ‘like numerous other Americans, we were looking for real socialism, but as yet knew little about it’;Kerr, Charles H. ‘Our Co-operative Publishing Business: How Socialist Literature Is Circulated is Being Circulated by Socialists,’ International Socialist Review (Henceforward ISR) 1, 9: pp. 669–72.6 that he had not been ‘inside the movement’ before 1899 ‘due to the accident of its not being presented to me’ but that he ‘had not the slightest difficulty in accepting the logic of the socialist position when once perceived’.7

While there already was a long history of socialist activity, largely but far from exclusively of a utopian variety in the US, the Marxist-based socialist movement in the United States at 1900 lagged far behind its European counterparts. Simons and Kerr attributed such ‘backwardness’, in part, to a lack of awareness and resources. Kerr later recounted that ‘when we began our work the literature of modern scientific socialism was practically unknown to American readers …’ and that what was available was largely ‘… of a sentimental, semi-populistic, character … of doubtful value to the building up of a coherent socialist movement’. As Simons put it, ‘…American socialist literature has been a byword and a laughing stock among the socialists of other nations’.8

Determined to remedy the situation, the duo embarked on a number of collaborative publishing projects as Kerr announced in June 1899 that ‘the course convinced us that half-way measures are useless, … our future publications will be in the line of scientific socialism’.‘Socialist Books’, Worker’s Call, June 24, 1899.9 Simons became vice president of the company in January 1900 and editor of the company’s monthly, the International Socialist Review (ISR), a ‘magazine of scientific socialism’, launched the following July.10

Under Simon’s editorship until 1908, the monthly aired socialist perspectives on a broad range of political and social questions. With articles by a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the national and international movement, it became the most important socialist theoretical publication in the country. Regular features included monthly column reports on the ‘World of Labor’ by the socialist trade unionist Max Hayes, and ‘Socialism Abroad’, a digest of movement developments in Europe and elsewhere edited by Ernest Untermann, the German-born emigré and future translator of the Kerr editions of Capital.

The ISR functioned as the primary promotional vehicle for the venture as Kerr utilised its pages to offer deep discounts on its titles to those subscribing to the monthly, investors in the company, and to Socialist Party locals or individual ‘socialist sales agents’ purchasing bundled quantities. A baseline source of company support, alongside minimal sales revenue and an occasional personal loan, came primarily from hundreds, then thousands of shareholder investors whose only ‘dividends’ remained generous discounts on the firm’s list of books and pamphlets.

Kerr began offering a lengthy list of 32-page duodecimo five cent pamphlets, ‘The Pocket Library of Socialism’ starting in March, 1899 with Woman and the Social Problem by Simons’ wife, the socialist feminist May Wood Simons.11 Wrapped in red glassine and priced as low priced $6 per 1,000 copies to company shareholders, the series contained thirty-five titles by 1902 and sixty plus by 1908 including Marx’s Wage-Labour and Capital, translated by the English socialist J.L. Joynes and issued as number seven of the series in1899 and Marx on Cheapness, number fifty, appearing in 1907. The Library by that time had reached a circulation in the hundreds of thousands.12

The company employed a number of different strategies to expand its lists of socialist titles. Kerr, for instance, purchased imprints, plates and copyrights of works previously published in the US. The firm, for example, obtained rights to titles previously issued by the International Library Publishing Company, the SLP’s New York-based operation, among them A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (Kerr edition,1904). In 1907, Kerr purchased the copyrights to additional titles including Marx’s Civil War in France and The Eighteenth Brumaireand Paul Lafargue’s The Right to Be Lazy from the Debs Publishing Company, which had acquired them in 1901 from the International Library.13

In 1899, the Simons’s young son died accidentally. To help them recuperate from their loss, a circle of the couple’s Chicago associates contributed funds to send the them to Europe toward the end of the year. Given the opportunity and with letters of introduction in hand, they met with a number of European socialist notables. In France, they met with Jules Guesde and Paul Lafargue. In England, they spent time with Keir Hardie and H.M. Hyndman and became acquainted with the leader of the Belgian movement, Emile Vandervelde. In possession of numerous publications and a list of newfound correspondents as well as ideas for a number of publishing projects, the couple returned to Chicago late May 1900.14

An extended list of adaptations and translations began to appear in the company’s catalogue soon afterward as Kerr translated French and Italian titles and the Simonses worked from the German. May Wood had already translated Karl Kautsky’s Frederick Engels His Life, His Work and His Writings (1899) and Algie Simons assisted in the translation of Wilhelm Liebknecht’s No Compromise-No Political Trading. Kerr meanwhile translated Vandervelde’s Collectivism and Industrial Development as well as the first of several works by Paul Lafargue, who gave the company permission to publish his Socialism and the Intellectuals (1900) shortly after meeting the Simonses. The couple also translated Kautsky’s The Social Revolution (The Erfurt Program). The company would also issue works from the Italian, most significant among them Kerr’s translation of Antonio Labriola’s Essays on the Materialist Conception of History.15 Kerr had established trade connections prior to the turn of the century with the London firm of Swan, Sonnenschein, the publisher in 1887 of the authorised English edition of Capital, Volume I. The company in 1900 issued an edition of Frederich Engels’s Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, translated from a French edition by Edward Aveling and published by Sonnenschein in 1892, and Kerr proudly advertised it as the company’s ‘first cloth bound socialist book’. The Kerr lists soon included additional standard Marxist works such as the Communist Manifesto, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, and Engels’ Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, the latter translated by Ernest Untermann.16

By 1905, the company’s catalogue also included a number of works by some of the key figures of Britain’s broader socialist movement. Kerr had already issued serialisations of William Morris’s News from Nowhere, published by Sonnenschein in 1893, and Robert Blatchford’s Merrie England in The New Time. He issued both works in updated book form and also published Blatchford’s Imprudent Marriagesand Morris’s Useful Work versus Useless Toil as part of the Pocket Library series. Kerr subsequently published Blatchford’s other works, Britain for the British (1902) and God and My Neighbor (1904). The Pocket Library also included Hyndman’s Socialism and Slavery, a critique of Herbert Spencer. The company issued Edward Carpenter’s Love’s Coming of Age (1903), and in cooperation with Sonnenschein, imported his Towards Democracy (1905). The Kerr list also came to include Socialism, Its Growth and Outcome by E. Belfort Bax and William Morris (Sonnenschein,1893/ Kerr, 1909).17

The 1867 edition of Das Kapital bore the names of the Marx’s Hamburg publisher, Otto Meisner as well as ‘New York: L.W. Schmidt, 24 Barclay Street’ on its title page and the work quickly became available to the small circles of German socialists in the US. Excerpts of it were published in the Arbeiter Union, edited by the German ‘Forty-Eighter’ Adolph Douai between October, 1868 and June 1869. A first English extract, a broadsheet published by the ‘First International, New York Section’ appeared in 1872.18

Beginning in April 1876, the English language weekly organ of the then-named Social Democratic Working-Men’s Party, The Socialist (New York), began running a series of chapter by chapter summaries of Capital accompanied by quotes from Marx. The installments, thirteen in total, continued after The Socialist became the Labor Standard with the formation of the Workingmen’s Party of the United States and ran through August 19, 1876. The apparent editor and translator of the series was Douai, a contributing editor of the Labor Standard who at the time had begun work on a full translation of Kapital.19

Marx, in October, 1877, had prepared revisions with the intent of having it translated and published in the U.S. and had actually sent them to Sorge at Hoboken, New Jersey. Writing to Sorge earlier, Marx passed along instructions for Douai to compare the 2nd German edition with the more recent, revised French edition and he promised to send the updated French volume for Douai. But the project fell through, according to Engels, ‘for want of a fit and proper translator’.20

An early English-language abridgment of Capital translated by Otto Weydemeyer, son of the German revolutionary Joseph Weydemeyer, was published at Hoboken by Sorge, c. 1875, as a 20cm, forty-two page pamphlet,‘‘Extracts from the Capital of Karl Marx’. Weydemeyer’s source was a summary of Capital by Johann Most published at Chemnitz in 1873, a text which Marx and Engels found unsatisfactory and disappointing.21 Those ‘extracts’ were later serialised in the Labor Standard beginning on 30 December 1877 as well as in the Chicago Socialist, and the New Haven Workmen’s Advocate.22

Writing under the pseudonym of John Broadhouse, H.M. Hyndman carried out an English translation from the extant German edition of Das Kapital’s first ten chapters, published in October, 1885. Engels, writing to Sorge in April, 1886 described the work as ‘nothing but a farce’ and ‘full of mistakes to the point of ridiculousness’.23

Regardless, in late 1885, the publisher, union job printer and home of the ‘Labor News & Publishing Association’, Julius Bordollo & Company at 705 Broadway, New York began offering installments of the Broadhouse-Hyndman work, apparently re-set in-house, of a ‘first English translation … in 27 parts at 10 cents; subscription price for the whole work, $2.50.’ The source for the Bordollo reprint evidently was To-Day – a monthly magazine of scientific socialism imported from London and distributed by Bordollo.24 The monthly, initially edited by J.L. Joynes and E. Belfort Bax and purchased by Hyndman in 1885, carried forty installments of the Broadhouse-Hyndman work between October, 1885 and May, 1889, publicised as the ‘First English translation of Karl Marx’s Capital’.25

Then, in early January, 1887 what was then ‘Swan, Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co., London’ issued 500 copies of the first authorised English edition of Capital, a critical analysis of capitalist production. Translated from the third German edition by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling under Engels ssupervision, the work initially appeared as a two volume octavo set. Its first run sold out within two months and an additional five hundred appeared that April, as half the total number went to the US.

Shipped as publisher’s sheets printed at Perth by S. Cowan & Co. and the Strathmore Printing Works and bound upon arrival, two separate shipments made their way to New York. One appeared with a tipped-in imprint bearing the name ‘New York, Scribner & Welfored’.26 A presently unknown quantity went to Bordollo who issued the two octavo volumes bound in green cloth with ‘J. Bordollo, New York’ gilt stamped on the feet.” href=””>27 Bordollo inserted a separate title page announcing…

THE GREATEST WORK OF THE AGE ON POLITICAL ECONOMY. CAPITAL, A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF CAPITALIST PRODUCTION, BY KARL MARX. Only authorized translation by the life-long friends of the author, SAMUEL MOORE, assisted by EDWARD AVELING, AND EDITED BY FREDERICK ENGELS. In 2 vols., Demy 8vo. Cloth, $700(Sic). Sent post-paid, $7.20. JULIUS BORDOLLO […], 104-106 East Fourth Street, NEW YORK.” [Emphases in original.]28

Contemporary back matter advertisements in the company’s pamphlets proceeded to list the firm as the work’ s ‘American Agent’.29

Swan, Sonnenschein & Company went on to publish single-bound editions of Volume I in 1889 and 1891, printed at Aberdeen University Press by John Thompson & J.F. Thomson.” href=”″>30 They were distributed in the U.S. through a formal arrangement with Appleton & Company at New York, with the latter’s name appearing on the title page above Sonnenschein’s. Of the 1,500 copies issued in London between 1887 and 1891, 794 were sold in Britain; and 700 made their way to the US.31. (Sonnenschein would subsequently issue The First Nine Chapters of Capital, a separate volume “reprinted from the stereotype pages of the complete (sic) work,” in 1897.)

Using the Sonnenschein Lowrey two volume 1887 edition and the joint Appleton & Co. 1889 imprint, the Humboldt Publishing Company at New York completely reset and released its own edition.32 That version initially appeared between 1 September 1890 and 15 October 1890, serialised as numbers 135 thru 138 ‘ double number’ issues of the ‘Humboldt Library of Science’. Binding the four installments together, the company then proceeded to issue its single volume the following year, which Engels criticised as an unauthorised ‘pirate’ upon receiving word of it from Sorge. Bound in red cloth and stamped on the front cover with the Humboldt trademark, the volume was promoted as a book showing ‘how to accumulate capital’ and reportedly sold some 5,000 copies.33

The Kerr publication was truly an internationalist effort. The company, in cooperation with the Worker’s Call, had initially imported a number of the Sonnenschein single volume edition in October 1901 and in May, 1902 sent a cash order to London for two hundred and fifty additional copies. Informing the ISR’ s readers that the ‘inferior American edition’ was no longer available, Kerr offered generous advance sale discounts on the volume’s regular price of $2.50 since ‘the co-operative house of Charles H. Kerr & Company was not organized to make profits, but to serve the interests of Socialism…’.34

In December 1902, Kerr informed his readers that a third shipment of the work, ‘ complete so far as it has yet been translated into English’, had come from London; that the first shipment, arriving the preceding June, had sold out ‘in a very few short weeks’, and that the company had placed a second order that arrived the month before, but which quickly went to filling back orders.35

At that time, Volumes Two and Three did not exist in English and Kerr, as early as November 1902, expressed the desire to translate and publish a complete three volume edition. He wrote that such a project would cost over $2,000 and expressed the hope that the necessary funds could be raised through the sale of company stock. He promised that the work would begin as soon as enough stock subscriptions were pledged.36

When that funding did not materialise, he set out to find other support for the project as well as a competent translator, one not only fluent in German and English but also well versed in Marxist economic theory. The company, through Simons, asked H.M. Hyndman in London for assistance, but when that did not happen, Kerr then turned to Ernest Untermann.37

Born in Brandenburg, Prussia in November 1864, Untermann had studied paleontology and geology at Humboldt University in Berlin and upon graduating, was ‘drafted into the great army of the unemployed’ before becoming a merchant seaman. He first arrived in United States in1881 and spent most of the next decade travelling the world aboard various merchant vessels. Following a short radicalising stint in the German military and a brief return to Humboldt, during which time he became a socialist, he made his way back to New York where he became a U.S. citizen in1893.

A member of the SLP in the late 1890s, he contributed regular columns to an assortment of socialist periodicals, including the Worker’s Call under Algie Simons’s editorship and its successor, the Chicago Socialist. Joining the Socialist Party of America at its 1901 inception, he was a signatory of the 1905 founding manifesto of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), went on to serve on the Party’s National Executive Committee in 1908-10 and ran as the SP candidate for Governor of Idaho in 1910 and the U.S. Senate from California in 1912.38

Already associated with the Kerr Company, he had previously written various pieces for the ISR, translated European articles for its pages, and compiled a monthly international update on ‘Socialism Abroad’. He also did the translations from the German and Italian for a number of Kerr titles, including, as mentioned, Engels’s Origin of the Family (1902) and, from the Italian, Enrico Ferri’s The Positive School of Criminology (1906) and Antonio Labriola’s Socialism and Philosophy (1907).

In April 1900, Kerr announced the first title of the ‘Library of Science for the Workers’, a series of primarily German works on natural science and evolution, issued with the intent ‘to silently undermine the theological prejudice against socialist principles’, several of which Untermann translated. The series also included his own Science and Revolution (1905) and Kerr soon published his original work of political economy, The World’s Revolutions (1906).39

Untermann’s previous translations had been done without compensation, but with a wife and daughters, he required some sort of support if the monumental task of revising volume one and translating volumes two and three was to proceed. To assist in the undertaking Kerr finally secured the financial assistance of Eugene Dietzgen, by way of Wiesbaden, Germany, and Zurich, Switzerland.40

Eugene’s father, Joseph Dietzgen, a leather tanner by trade, was an autodidact well-versed in materialist philosophy and political economy, and a First Internationalist comrade of Marx and Engels. He first migrated to the U.S. after 1848 and moved back and forth across the Atlantic on several occasions. During a third U.S. sojourn in the 1880s, he became active in New York’s German emigré socialist circles and in 1885 became the editor of Der Sozialist, the ‘central organ’ of the German language section of the Socialist Labor Party. Following the Haymarket bombing of May 1886, he moved to Chicago and took up the editorship of the Chicagoer Arbeiterzeitung after its anarchist editor August Spies, eventually one of those hanged as an alleged conspirator in the bombing, was arrested.41 Two of his own works, both translated by Untermann with financial backing from Eugene, The Positive Outcome of Philosophy (with an introduction by Dutch socialist Anton Pannekoek) and Philosophical Essays, were issued by Kerr in 1906.

Upon his father’s urging, Eugene Dietzgen moved to the U.S. in 1881 aftercompleti ng his formal education in the classics, philosophy and the natural sciences at Berlin. Settling in Chicago, he went on to head an industrial firm bearing his name that specialised in the production of drafting and engineering tools, and did quite well. He also was active in socialist circles in Chicago and nationally and was selected to represent the Social Democratic Party of America (a forerunner of the Socialist Party) at the International Socialist Congress in Paris, 1900.42

Sometime after the turn of the century, he contracted tuberculosis and retired from the business world and returned to Germany and then Switzerland. From there with the surplus extracted at Chicago, he became the patron of various publishing ventures of the Second International, including Karl Kautsky’s Die Neue Zeit, the foremost theoretical journal of German Social Democracy. Kerr had known Dietzgen before he left Chicago and Algie Simons reestablished connections with him on successive trips to Europe and through a correspondence with Kautsky. Untermann was an admirer of the elder Dietzgen and also apparently had some earlier connection to Eugene, who agreed to subsidise Untermann’s translation of Marx’s opus.43

Untermann set to work on the massive project during the first half of 1905 while living on a chicken farm in Orlando, Florida. He later recalled that,

I couldn’t have done it on what Kerr paid me…, but Eugene Dietzgen paid me a total of $5.00 per page, so I built up a little chicken ranch that panned out well enough to keep my family and myself in groceries. I did the translating after I got through fighting skunks, opossums, snakes, and hawks and for a while it was doubtful whether the chicken business belonged to me or to preying animals. But I won out after a while….44

As he proceeded, he also found time to do an eight-part series of articles on ‘The second, third and fourth volumes of Marx’s Capital’ for the Chicago Socialist that appeared between February and April 1905.45 Those installments became the bases for his Marxian Economics: A Popular Introduction to the Three Volumes of Marx’s Capital, released as volume thirteen of the company’s ‘International Library of Science’ series in 1907.

Untermann not only translated Volumes Two and Three, but also revised and edited a new edition of Volume One. In his ‘Editor’ s note to the first American edition’, penned at Orlando and dated July 1906, he explained the reasons for redoing the work.

As he recounted it, more or less, the first English translation of Capital, Volume I, had appeared in January 1887. Overseen by Engels, its translators, Moore and Aveling utilised the third German edition that had integrated changes made by Marx for the second edition (1872) along with the first French edition appearing that same year. In 1890, Engels, using notes left by Marx, edited the proofs for a fourth German edition and comparisons with the French version. But Swan Sonnenschein did not adopt the changes in its subsequent English issues.

Untermann’s Volume One utilised that revised fourth German edition. Comparing the Swan Sonnenschein version page by page in the process, he found some ten pages of additional text not present in the earlier English rendering and integrated those. He also revised the volume’s footnotes.46

Selling for $2.00 and $1.20 to shareholders by Kerr, the first 2,000 copies of Volume One, ‘… revised and amplified by Ernest Untermann …’ appeared in December, 1906, with new, added features–an appendix of ‘Works and Authors Quoted in Capital’ and a topical index done by Untermann.47 Promoting the three volumes later on, Kerr would note the index of some 1,400 topics as ‘the best economic dictionary available in any language.’48

That first run sold within the year and the company issued an additional 2,000 copies in late 1907.49 Kerr could inform his ISR readers that the company had sold a total of some 8,000 copies by November 1909. With Volumes Two and Three available by that latter date, he began offering the complete set, ‘by express, prepaid, as a premium to anyone sending six dollars for the Review six years to one address, or for six copies one year to six NEW names…’.50

Translated from the second German edition, Volume Two, ‘The process of circulation of capital’, appeared in July 1907. Sonnenschein had placed an advanced order for 500 copies for it and a London edition, bound in red cloth and embossed on the front cover and spine with ‘Half Guinea, International Library’ and ‘Sonnenschein’, and ‘Charles H. Kerr & Company, Chicago’ and ‘Swan, Sonnenschein, London’ on the title page soon appeared.

Translated from the 1st German edition, Volume Three, ‘The process of capitalist production as a whole’ was originally scheduled for printing in early 1908. While noting that the translation was paid for by Dietzgen ‘as a gift to the American socialist movement’ and that the Second International patron had pledged additional monthly sums to secure articles from European socialists and to help out with the company’s deficit, Kerr wrote that an additional $2,000 was needed to cover production costs. He requested that his readers order the volume in advance to help defray that expense.” href=””>51

Volume Three finally appeared in July 1909 and Kerr began offering the volumes singly and as a complete three volume set. All three volumes bore the union ‘bug’ of John F. Higgins, the company’s long-time printer and as such became the first ‘authorized’ edition produced in a union shop. The Kerr edition immediately became the accepted English version, as Swan, Sonnenschein, in conjunction with Kerr, began to distribute it throughout the English-speaking world.

The Kerr edition of Capital passed through a number of separately dated print runs through the 1910s and imprints appeared as late as 1933. In 1936, the company sold its original plates of Volume One to the Modern Library and the New York house issued its own hardback imprint, with ‘Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1906’ remaining on the copyright page (a source of future confusion for bibliographers and antiquarian booksellers, alike). or, the OCLC World Cat listing: Marx,, Capital : a critique of political economy … New York : The Modern Library, [1906]:” href=””>52

That volume’s dust jacket noted that, ‘With one-sixth of the habitable world actually governed by Marxian doctrines and with the rest of the world increasingly agitated over the possible spread of communistic social orders, an acquaintance with the fundamental principles of Karl Marx becomes more and more essential to every person who is genuinely interested in world history today and in the forces behind the ever sharpening clash between fascism and the Left…’ Successive Modern Library editions appeared in 1945 and after.

While other English editions of Capital appeared, such as the translation done by Cedar and Eden Paul published in London by Allen & Unwin in 1928, Kerr’s three volume edition in one form or another remained the standard English text until the appearance of the Progress Publishers edition in 1967, superseded in 1976 by the Penguin edition translated by Ben Fowkes.

As for the Kerr Company, it experienced various ups and downs including an onslaught of government repression including the suppression of the International Socialist Review, vital to its functioning, during World War I. The company survived that period’s ‘Red Scare’ and continued on well after its namesake retired in 1928 after passing its reins on to a next generation of socialist activists associated with the Proletarian Party, an early communist grouping that arose out of the splintering of the Socialist Party in 1919.53 Holding on through the bottom of the 1950s McCarthy era, the venture was saved from passing out of existence in 1971 by yet another generation of socialists, anarchists and labour activists committed to its project. It experienced somewhat of a revival in the 1980s, passed its hundredth anniversary in 1986, and continues its existence as the oldest socialist publishing house in the world.

On his regularly appearing “Publisher’s Notes” page of the ISR, Kerr would often emphasise that the company was organised to do just one thing–to bring out books valuable to the international socialist movement and to circulate them at prices affordable for working class readers.54 Certainly, the publication of the full English edition of Capital remained the crowning achievement of that project.

Bax, E. Belfort and J.L. Joynes, To-Day: the monthly magazine of scientific socialism.London: 1884–1889. ‘Index of articles’. Available at: <>

Charles H. Kerr & Company Archives, Chicago: Newberry Library.

Curry, Lily 1886, Anti-syllabus New York: Julius Bordollo and Company. (Available at:<>

Ernest Untermann Papers, Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society.

Morris Hillquit Papers, Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society, Box 1, Folder 5: Charles H. Kerr to Morris Hillquit, Oct. 4,1905.

International Socialist Review, Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1900–1918.

Kerr, Charles H. [1903], Cooperation in Publishing Socialist Literature, Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Co.

Kerr, Charles H.1904, A Socialist Publishing House, Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company.

Kerr, Charles H. 1924, Radical Books on Economics, History, Social Science, Psychology and Evolution, Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company.

Marx, Karl 1875, Extracts from the Capital of Karl Marx, Hoboken, N.J.: F.A. Sorge.[]

Marx, Karl 188 7, Capital. A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production, Volume I (trans. from 3rd German edn. by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. Swan Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co., London.) Two volumes. 8vo. xxxii, 364; (ii), 365-816 pp.

Marx, Karl 1889, Capital; a Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production. Translated from the third German edition, by Samuel Moor and Edward Averring. Edited by Frederick Engels, New York: Appleton & Company, London: Swann Sonnenscehin. <>

Marx, Karl [1891], Capital: Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production, New York: Humboldt Publishing Co. Large 8vo. xviii, 506, (52).

Marx, Karl 1906, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume One. The Process of Capitalist Production. Translated from the third German edition, by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling and edited by Frederick Engels. Revised and amplified according to the Fourth German edition by Ernest Untermann. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company.

Marx, Karl 1907, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume Two: The Process of Circulation of Capital. Ed. Frederick Engels. Trans. from the 2nd German edition by Ernest Untermann. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company.

Marx, Karl 1909, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. III. The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole. Frederick Engels, ed. Ernest Untermann, trans.. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company; Library of Economics and Liberty [Online]

May Walden Kerr Papers. Chicago: Newberry Library.

Morris Hillquit Papers. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society.

Most, Johann, Kapital und Arbeit: Ein Populärer Auszug aus “Das Kapital” von Karl Marx [Capital and Labour: A Popular Excerpt from “Capital” by Karl Marx]. Chemnitz: G. Rübner, n.d. [1873]. Revised 2nd edition, 1876.

‘Pocket Library of Socialism’ (1899–1910), Charles H. Kerr & Co., Chicago.

Untermann, Ernest 1907, Marxian Economics–A popular introduction to the Three Volumes of Marx’s ‘Capital’, Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company.

Adams, Frederick B., Jr., 1939, Radical literature in America: an address… to which is appended a catalogue of an exhibition held at the Grolier club in New York City, Stamford, CT: Overbrook Press.

Buhle, Mari Jo 1981, Women and American Socialism 1870–1920, Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Buhle, Paul 2013, Marxism in the United States: A History of the American Left, 3rd. Edition. (London: Verso).

Buhle, Mari Jo; Paul Buhle & Dan Georgakis, eds. 1998, Encyclopedia of the American Left, 2nd Edition, London: Oxford.

Carter, John & Percy H. Muir, eds.. 1967, Printing and the Mind of Man: A Descriptive Catalogue Illustrating the Impact of Print on the Evolution of Western Civilization During Five Centuries, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Cochran, David. ‘A Socialist Publishing House,’ History Workshop, 24 Autumn, 1987, pp.162–165.

Commons, John R.,, History of Labor in the United States, Volume II New York: MacMillan, 1935.

Easton, Lloyd D.1958, ‘Empiricism and Ethics in Dietzgen’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 19, pp. 77–90.

Foner, Philip S. 1967, ‘Marx’s ‘Capital’ in the United States’, Science & Society, 31, 4, pp. 461–466.

Foner, Philip S. 1947, History of the Labor Movement in the United States: Volume 1: From the Colonial Times to the Founding of the American Federation of Labor, New York: International.

Hillquit, Morris 1910, History of Socialism in the United States, New York: Funk and Wagnalls.

Karl Marx Memorial Library, Luxembourg 2017, ‘Karl Marx, Capital, first American editions’ [typescript]. Available at <>

Kipnis, Ira. 1972, The American Socialist Movement 1897–1912, New York: Monthly Review.

Kreuter, Kent and Gretchen Krueter 1969, An American Dissenter: The Life of Algie Martin Simons, 1870–1950, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.

Pittenger, Mark 1993, American Socialists and Evolutionary Thought, 1870–1920, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Martinek, Jason D. 2010, ‘Business at the Margins of Capitalism: Charles H. Kerr and Company and the Progressive Era Socialist Movement’, Business and Economic History On-Line 8: <>

Martinek, Jason D. 2012, Socialism and Print Culture in America 1897–1920, London: Pickering & Chatto.

Ruff, Allen 1993, ‘A Path Not Taken: The Proletarian Party and the Early History of Communism in the United States’, in Ron C. Kent,,         eds., Culture, Gender, Race, and U.S. Labor History, Santa Barbara: Praeger, 43–57.

Ruff, Allen 2011, ‘We Called Each Other Comrade’ – Charles H. Kerr & Company, Radical Publishers Oakland: PM Press, [Chicago: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1996].

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Author: Posted Jul 16, 2020 by Allen Ruff Literature Global Newswire

An Elk Rapids Art Gallery Connects Community with Local Artist through their New Online Store

An Elk Rapids Art Gallery Connects Community with Local Artist through their New Online Store

Many art galleries across Northern Michigan are getting creative by making their art more accessible. This has led some galleries to take some of their artwork literally outside and/or inside the Twisted FishWorld Wide Web.

The Twisted Fish Gallery & Sculpture Garden in Elk Rapids has done both with a garden art walkway, and an online store – in addition to their actual indoor gallery.

Gallery Director, Lynn Streit says they rely on the tourism industry and they’ve been hit pretty hard. During the summer ‘the usuals’ would come into to purchase artwork, and curious tourists would trickle in after seeing the garden display. “Haven’t seen as many of the familiar faces as we had in summers past, but people are slowly coming out here in the gallery,” said Streit.

To help combat the loss of foot traffic, Twisted Fish has made their store both available at their location at 10443 S Bay Shore Dr in Elk Rapids, and on their website.

“We’ve actually seen quite an increase in our online sales in the last few weeks which has been nice,” Streit explained. “We have all these magnificent beautiful gardens for you to come and enjoy anytime you want. Inside of course we are following the state standards of masks being worn, hand sanitizers, and Plexiglas up at the register. We are also making accommodations to provide private appointments if somebody doesn’t want to come in, and they want us to do the shopping for them. We make every effort to work with our clients on sourcing art that speaks to them, either from here with our use of our cell phones or online”.

The Twisted Fish Gallery has also modified some of its artist events that includes social distance and virtual classes.

On July 21, Twisted Fish artist & art instructor, Louise Pond will be doing a workshop about ‘Plein air painting’ with a focus on water. From 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM, participants can enjoy a day of culture and an art lesson while social distancing on the local Elk Rapids beach. For more information about this event, click here.

To learn more about the Twisted Fish Gallery & Sculpture Garden, and their online store, click here.


Author: Sarah Himes,

How Housekeepers and Domestic Helpers Can Return to Work Safely -- Occupational Health & Safety

How Housekeepers and Domestic Helpers Can Return to Work Safely — Occupational Health & Safety

How Housekeepers and Domestic Helpers Can Return to Work Safely

The pandemic is still here, but domestic helpers and housekeepers need to work and families want the services. How do both parties resume work safely? The answer is about trust, safety and communication.

Earlier this spring, at the start of the pandemic, most housekeepers and domestic helpers were sent home like the rest of us for lockdown. However, they do not have the luxury of working remotely, or taking time off—as many rely heavily on every paycheck they get. As communities begin to reopen, people are wondering how safely allow your domestic helpers and housekeepers back in your home while ensuring your safety and theirs.

One New York Times article puts the answer out on the table: doing so safely is about trust, communication and being smart.

If you are an employer and are thinking about allowing housecleaners, nannies and health aides back into your home, there are a few things to remember:

  • It is the worker who faces the biggest risk of being exposed to your germs and those of other houses where they work.
  • Take practical steps to keep the worker healthy, including providing masks and gloves, opening windows, offering paid sick leave etc.
  • While there is risk that you could get sick from someone entering into your home, there is much more evidence that “essential workers who are in frequent contact with people are the ones getting sick (most often)—not the customers,” said Shan Soe-Lin, a lecturer at Yale University and managing director of Pharos Global Health Advisors.

    Trust and communication are key. Often times, domestic workers do not feel comfortable raising issues about health, safety and pay so the employer should start the conversation. Ways to foster trust and communication include:

  • Promise sick pay and encourage workers to stay home when they feel ill or have a fever or any respiratory symptoms.
  • Reassure your employee that if someone in your home becomes ill and the worker needs to stay home, you will not dock their pay.
  • Offer temperature checks (but remember that a fever is not a reliable indicator of health).
  • If possible, leave the house when workers are inside completing the job.
  • Open as many windows and doors as possible when workers are inside to allow for ventilation.
  • Source:

    Author: Jul 16, 2020

    South University starts online training course for contact tracing

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