James Green Memorial Forum honors a labor historian.
James Robert Green (November 4, 1944 – June 23, 2016) was an American historian, author, and labor activist. He was Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Green's interest in radicalism and his experiences in West Virginia led him to become involved in the American labor movement in the 1980s. In 1981, he created a labor studies major at UMass-Boston, and started teaching leadership training workshops for unions such as the United Mine Workers of America. In 1995, Green founded the Labor Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
In 1987, in addition to continuing on the faculty at UMass-Boston, Green was named a lecturer at the Harvard Trade Union Program and continued to teach for the program until his death in 2016. The HTUP participants always found his labor tour of Boston one of the highlights of the program.
Green's interest in labor history and involvement in the American labor movement has led him to become involved with a number of documentary films.
In 1989, Green was supporting coal miners who had struck the Pittston Coal Group. Documentary film-maker Barbara Kopple, commissioned to create a centennial history of the United Mine Workers, was there filming the strike and employed Green as a consultant. The film became Out of Darkness: The Mine Workers' Story. He received an associate producer credit on the picture.
In 1992 and 1993, Green worked as a research director and consultant on "The Great Depression," an award-winning seven-part documentary series produced by Blackside, Inc. which aired on PBS. Afterward, he served on the community advisory board of local Boston public television station, WGBH, from 1993 to 1994.
From 1995 to 1996, Green served as a consultant to the film The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers. The film later aired on PBS.
In 2014 the producers of the PBS series American Experience secured the rights to Green's forthcoming book (Publication Date: Feb. 2015) on the West Virginia Mine Wars. The book, The Devil is Here in these Hills, will be the basis of documentary film produced by The Film Posse in Boston. The program aired nationwide in 2016.