2013 Ellsworth Lecture to Explore Vermont Marble Workers Strike

Scott McDowell, a Vermont historian and 2010 graduate of Johnson State, will present the college's 29th annual Ellsworth Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, in the Stearns Performance Space. McDowell will discuss the 1935-36 labor strike by Rutland area marble workers against Vermont Marble Company.

 

A 2012 graduate of the University of Vermont with an M.A. in history, McDowell will focus primarily on the role that Vermont labor laws played during the eight-month strike, and how entanglements between the company and the state influenced the course of the strike.

 

McDowell researched the strike for his master's thesis. In his thesis, he explores how the strike occurred within the context of the New Deal era when a change in the federal government's attitude toward labor resulted in the development of legislation sanctioning the existence of unions and providing them with various legal protections.

 

However, he explains, business-political-social power dynamics prevented laws at both the federal and state level from having meaningful significance in practice and ultimately thwarted the collective efforts of the striking workers at Vermont Marble.

 

Currently, McDowell is applying to doctoral programs in legal history and to law schools. He already has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in American history at the University of Minnesota.

 

His lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Ellsworth Trust, a private foundation that enriches higher education at Johnson State and the study of political science and history through scholarships for undergraduates, annual lectures, travel grants, multicultural events and more.