Raising a red flag: Michigan’s odd chapter in labor activism

Jul 7, 2016

Twice in the 20th century, the Michigan Supreme Court heard cases involving red flags.  One man was at the center of both cases.

The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled twice on the emotional implications of displaying red flags.
Credit Flickr / Rutger van Waveren

Fahle Burman was an American of Scandinavian descent living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  He was a socialist and activist supportive of labor unions and learned the hard way about the importance people assign to flags, in this case, red flags.  

John Beck is an Associate Professor in MSU’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations and is a student of labor history.  

He’s spent a lot of time looking into Fahle Burman’s place in labor and Michigan history.