Major Papers


Detroit, Maurice Sugar, Avrahm Mezerick


The 1930s-1950s saw a significant growth and change in Detroit’s leftist labour movement. Memoirs provide invaluable insight into social movements as they provide personal accounts and insight that institutional and document source materials lack. While they must be approached with caution, they balance objectivity with personal narratives that add the human element to historical studies, ultimately creating a more balanced interpretation. The unpublished memoirs of Maurice Sugar, and Avrahm Mezerick offer insight into Detroit’s leftist movement through their reflections on their childhood experiences. Sugar and Mezerick discuss their childhoods through very different lenses to highlight their inspirations and motivations for working within the leftist and labour movements. Due to the leftist movement’s ties to industrial unionism, and the collective identity that unionism encourages, memoirs offer a wealth of information on the often-overlooked individuality within the labour movement. These two case studies serve as exemplars for the potential memoirs hold.

Primary Advisor

Miriam Wright

Program Reader

Guillaume Teasdale

Degree Name

Master of Arts



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year