Module 06: "Which Side Are You On?" The Flint Sit-Down Strike, 1936-37


Printed Materials

Sidney Fine, Sit-Down: The General Motors Strike of 1936-1937 (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1969).

Henry Kraus, The Many and the Few: A Chronicle of the Dynamic Auto Workers, 2nd ed. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985).

Alan Lomax, compiler, notes by Woody Guthrie, music transcription by Pete Seeger, Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999).

Timothy Lynch, Strike Songs of the Depression (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001).

Joyce Shaw Peterson, "General Motors Sit-Down Strike of 1936-1937." In Ronald L Filippelli, ed., Labor Conflict in the United States: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland, 1990): 202-207.

Stephen W. Sears, "'Shut the Goddam Plant!': The Great Sit-Down That Transformed American Industry." American Heritage 33(3) (April/May 1982): 49-64.


Lorraine W. Gray and Lyn Goldfard, With Babies and Banners: Story of the Women's Emergency Brigade (New York: New Day Films, 1978/1999). Explores the role of women in the Flint sit-down strike, especially that of the Women's Emergency Brigade. Includes interviews with members of the Brigade on the fortieth anniversary of the strike and newsreel footage of the events at the time.

David McCollough, et. al., Sit Down and Fight: Walter Reuther and the Rise of the Auto Workers Union (Alexandria, VA: PBS Video, dist., 1992). Tells the story of Walter Reuther, leader of the UAW from 1936 to 1970 and an important advocate of the sit-down strike as a means of non-violent protest. Includes documentary footage, still photographs, and interviews.

Online Resources

Remembering the Flint Sit-Down Strike, 1936-37, hosted by Michigan State University. Interactive website featuring excerpts from interviews of strike participants. Interviews originally gathered for the Labor History Project at University of Michigan-Flint (see below).

The Great Flint Sitdown, online exhibit designed by the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University. Brief synopsis of the strike, including original photographs and links to other university-owned resources.

University of Michigan-Flint Labor History Project, hosted by the Frances Willson Thompson Library at the University of Michigan-Flint. Contains an index to university holdings as well as transcripts of oral history interviews conducted by project members.

Vivian M. Baulch and Patricia Zacharias, "The Historic 1936-37 Flint Auto Plant Strikes" from the The Detroit News. Narrative of the strike, including numerous photos from the newspaper archives.

America From the Great Depression to World War II, hosted by the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress. Online exhibit of photographs taken from the Farm Security Administration revealing the impact of the Great Depression on rural and urban America.

Labor Arts, a virtual museum created in conjunction with New York University. Contains numerous exhibits of artwork, photographs, song lyrics, and other cultural artifacts from the U.S. labor movement. Also provides numerous links to other labor resources online.

A Curriculum of United States Labor History for Teachers, sponsored by the Illinois Labor History Society. Contains a timeline of significant developments in U.S. labor history from the colonial period through the 1980s, as well as suggestions for classroom activities to integrate labor history into a U.S. Survey course.