West Virginia University Institute of Technology’s fifth annual Otis K. Rice Lecture Series will feature Dr. Fred Barkey on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m. The event, sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council, is free and open to the public. Barkey’s lecture, entitled “Here Come the Boomer ‘Tallys’: Italian Immigrants and Industrial Conflict in the Upper Kanawha Valley (1903-1917),” will be held in the WVU Tech Engineering Auditorium in Montgomery.
Barkey, professor emeritus at the West Virginia Graduate School, earned his Ph.D. in history, with a major concentration in U.S. labor history, from the University of Pittsburgh after having earned both his M.A. and B.A. from Marshall University. He has taught history at the University of Charleston and at the Institute for Labor Studies at West Virginia University.
He has also been selected as a Danforth Associate in recognition of his outstanding college teaching and knighted by the King of Belgium (Order of King Leopold II) for promoting greater awareness of the contributions of Belgian immigrant workers to the development of West Virginia and the nation.
He has written extensively on topics related to labor and immigration in West Virginia and recently had his work on the Socialist Party in West Virginia, “Working Class Radicals: The Socialist Party in West Virginia, 1898-1920,” published by WVU Press.
Dr. Barkey’s lecture will explore the influx of Italian immigrants into West Virginia during the early 20th century. He will focus on Italian communities in Fayette County and the impact these groups had upon industrial, economic, and social development in the Upper Kanawha Valley.
He will speak to the interaction of West Virginian and Italian populations, customs, and institutions as well. “Through this presentation, I’ll be rescuing the ofttimes anonymous immigrant from historic oblivion,” Barkey said.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to share a taste of local history with our alumni, faculty and staff, students and the Upper Kanawha Valley community,” explained WVU Tech CEO Carolyn Long.
The Rice Lecture Series began in 2009 in honor of noted historian Otis K. Rice, who served at WVU Institute of Technology from 1957 to 1987 and was the state’s first historian laureate.