University Library News
Georgia State University

Public Transit, Ownership, and Labor in the United States, 1935-1975 – March 3rd, 2010


Are you a MARTA rider? Are you concerned about its lack of financial support, its reliability of service and the history of the laborers who worked on it? Then archivist and historian William Jordan Patty’s March 3rd presentation on “Public Transit, Ownership, and Labor in the United States, 1935-1975” may be of interest to you. At 12:30 PM, Patty will present his lecture in the Colloquium Room on the 8th Floor of the Georgia State University Library’s South building.  Patty is the final recipient of the 2009 Merl E. Reed Fellowship in Southern Labor History, an award bestowed annually by the Southern Labor Archives, which is part of Georgia State University Library’s Special Collections and Archives Department.

Each year, one or more Reed recipients receive $250-$500 when their research in the Southern Labor Archives will lead to a book, article, dissertation or other substantive product. In return, these recipients agree to present their research to the Georgia State University community within one academic year of receiving the award.

William Jordan Patty’s research cites the need to create “secondary sources… on public transit, ownership, and labor.” For his presentation, Patty will examine certain aspects of the history of public transit and its workers in the United States, including the Southeast. He plans to use the records of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 732 (Atlanta, GA), because of the “time period they cover (1919-1981) and their focus on the local union of a particular transit system” (meaning MARTA). Patty also plans to us the Nation City Lines, Southern Region, records, and the W.J. Usery, Jr., papers to further his research. All three collections are held in the Southern Labor Archives.

Patty received his BA in History from the University of the South, his MA in History from the University of Arkansas, and his MLS from the University of Maryland. He currently works as a processing archivist at George Mason University Libraries Special Collection and Archives.

His March 3rd presentation on the history of U.S. public transit should be of interest to other history and labor researchers, as well as citizens concerned with recent changes to the MARTA system and other public transit options throughout the United States.