MARQUETTE, Mich.--Northern Michigan University will host its 14th annual Sonderegger Symposium, a series of presentations on Upper Peninsula topics. The event is free and open to the public. It kicks off with “Playing for the People: The Labor Sport Union Athletic Clubs in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.” History professor Gabe Logan will give the talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, in the Erie Room of the University Center.
The Labor Sport Union prospered throughout the iron ore region of Lake Superior from 1928-1935. Its goal was to strengthen American Communist Party activism by offering immigrant populations a working-class recreation alternative to elite “bourgeoisie” clubs, company-sponsored teams and religious-backed organizations. Teams from several cities dotting the Upper Peninsula were among those competing in a variety of sports. The LSU’s influence was limited primarily to urban centers, but its level of support in this region was disproportionate to the population. Logan’s research was supported by an NMU Center for U.P. Studies fellowship.
The symposium continues on Friday in Mead Auditorium in the West Science Building. It begins with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by opening remarks from Robert Archibald and a welcome from NMU President Fritz Erickson. Presentations follow from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Topics and presenters are: “Honoring Russ Magnaghi,” Robert Archibald; “Canadian Immigrants in the Upper Peninsula,” Daniel Truckey; “Industry, Labor and the Right to Smoke in Michigan’s Arsenal of Democracy,” Gregory Wood; “Voices of the Gossard,” Glenda Ward; “The Blind: Shoot Shack as Sacred Space,” Michael Marsden; “An Immense World of Delight: The U.P. in Prose,” Ted Bays; “Holing Up: The Origins Evolutions, Lifestyle and Work of Shackers in the Upper Great Lakes,” Troy Henderson; and “The Beginnings of the Center for U.P. History and the Sonderegger Symposium,” Magnaghi and Marsden.