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Michael Honey teaches African-American and U.S. history, civil rights and labor studies and specializes in work on Martin Luther King, Jr. He holds the Fred T. and Dorothy G. Haley Endowed Professorship in the Humanities at the University of Washington, Tacoma (UWT).
As a founding faculty member at UWT (1990), he helped shape the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program and its concentration in Ethnic, Gender and Labor studies, and worked in partnerships with labor and community organizations in the Tacoma area. His "Doing Community History" class has developed oral histories with scores of residents of the area, from union members to business people, to Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos and Japanese Americans. In partnership with Paul Lovelady in "Underdog Productions," he has produced short films on labor and civil rights issues, including one on war resister Lt. Ehren Watada.
He regularly speaks on historical issues at various campuses and community organizations throughout the country, and consults with teachers and researchers developing labor, ethnic, and gender studies programs. He is the President-elect of the Labor and Working-class History Association, a national association of labor scholars and activists. His presentations have included "Links on the Chain," a musical and multi-media presentation of labor and civil rights history, and he has performed it with Pete Seeger and other musicians. He continues to work with the Labor Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., and other groups concerned with preserving the cultural legacy of movements for social change. A civil rights and civil liberties organizer in the Deep South from 1970-1976, Honey has a long-standing involvement in linking scholarship, music, and public speaking with community and labor organizing.
Honey has received research grants or fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Research and Conference Center, the Huntington Library, and the Stanford Humanities Center. He has published a score of scholarly articles in books and journals, as well as numerous columns in newspapers and periodicals.
His research and writing are widely recognized. Black Workers Remember: An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), received the Southern Historical Association's H.L. Mitchell Award for southern working-class history, the Southern Regional Council's Lillian Smith award for a study of human rights issues and the Governor's Award for excellence by a Washington State writer. Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights: Organizing Memphis Workers (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), won the Organization of American Historian's James A. Rawley Prize for history of race relations, the Southern Historical Associations Charles Sydnor Prize for southern history, and the University of Illinois Press' Herbert Gutman Award for social history. His article on white Unionists within the Confederacy during the Civil War won the OAH Charles Thomson Prize for the best research article based on the National Archives.