It’s been quite a year for Glenn Feldman, Ph.D. First, he got to honor his mentor by writing a chapter and co-editing History and Hope in the Heart of Dixie: Scholarship, Activism and Wayne Flynt in the Modern South. Then, on Oct. 1, Feldman was unanimously recommended to become the new director of the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR).

Feldman, who becomes the fourth director in CLEAR’s 34-year history, replaces Judith King, CLEAR director from September 2000 until the present; King is returning to the full-time faculty in CLEAR.

“I am quite gratified personally and professionally about the appointment,” Feldman says. “CLEAR is a great place that does great work and has benefited from fine leadership over the years.”

CLEAR designs and presents university-level education programs for organized labor, and Feldman is excited about the opportunity to lead the group.

“I believe in the mission of the labor center, which is now more than three decades old,” Feldman says. “I look forward to continuing its valuable programs in education and outreach to workers across the state and nation, continuing to support our faculty’s contributions to the School of Business and our grant work in worker safety, confined-space rescue and hazardous materials training.”

Feldman joined UAB in 1996 as an assistant professor in CLEAR after completing a Ph.D. in history at Auburn University. He has been an outstanding teacher/educator and is a distinguished scholar who has published more than 25 articles in highly respected academic journals and authored several books. He’s also edited numerous books, including one recently released that is particularly special to him.

Reflections and the future
Most of us would be honored ourselves if given a chance to honor our mentor. Feldman got to honor his by doing three of the things he does best: editing, writing and research – all for History and Hope in the Heart of Dixie.

The book, a tribute to Flynt, features writings on topics that are of particular interest to the popular Alabama historian. The idea of the book, says Feldman, is to celebrate the career of Flynt, both as a historian and as a Southern social activist working for reform; education, labor, tax reform, women’s rights and a more progressive view of politics are topics of interest to him.

Feldman wrote a long chapter looking at the Southern New Deal coalition of farmers and workers and the stresses and strains race exercised on that relationship.

“It kind of traced the erosion of the Democratic Party back to racial tensions of the time,” Feldman says. “The seeds were almost there from the beginning for the thing to fall apart.”

Feldman has written and/or edited seven books, each one with its own special meaning for him. This one, he says, is a sentimental favorite, and most of the essays in the book are by Flynt’s former students.

“Each book you write for a different reason, but this was the least we could do for Flynt,” Feldman says.

“He’s just a role model in virtually every aspect of a person’s life. His work ethic is amazing. His commitment to making his state and region a better place to live in is just so admirable. I think his application of his understanding of Christianity and what it means in terms of improving the lives of other individuals instead of spending a lot of time judging their deficiencies is something we can all learn from.”

Feldman has now moved on to his next project — another book.

“Right now I’m trying to work on exploring how the South changed from being a Democratic stronghold to being a Republican stronghold,” Feldman says with a laugh. “That’s probably going to take me a while.”