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Mary Reynolds

Reynolds Mary

Visiting Scholar

My dissertation, “Red Lives: Grassroots Radicalism and Visionary Organizing in the American Century,” is a side-by-side social and intellectual biography of Claudia Jones, Emma Tenayuca, and Ah Quon McElrath, three working-class women who came-of-age during the Great Depression, and whose lifelong commitments to grassroots organizing and radical politics emerged from the Popular Front’s cross-class, multiracial coalitions and collective actions. “Red Lives” illuminates the unbroken history of both reactionary opposition to radical women’s activism and that activism’s perseverance and influence throughout twentieth-century America.


I am currently revising “Red Lives” for publication. I am also engaged in a research and strategic planning project for the Reflective Democracy Campaign (URL: https://wholeads.us/), which produces data and analysis on race and gender demographics in American electoral politics, social movements, and economic structures.


2021    Ph.D., American Studies, Yale University

            “Red Lives: Grassroots Radicalism and Visionary Organizing in the American Century”

1997    MA, Women’s History, Sarah Lawrence College



2021-               Research and Strategy Consultant, Reflective Democracy Campaign

2019-2022       Visiting Scholar, JFK Institute, Freie Universität

2016-2019       Visiting Scholar, University of York

2012-2015       Executive Director, New Haven Works

2007-2015       Lead Organizer, UNITE HERE international labor union

2007-2008       Visiting Faculty, Sarah Lawrence College

2001-2007       Ph.D. Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant, Yale University; staff organizer Graduate Employee and Student Union

1997-2001       Associate Director, Women’s History Program, Sarah Lawrence College

Research Areas:

U.S. 20th century history

Women’s History

Labor History

Histories of radicalism


Research Projects:

After a fifteen-year career in the labor movement, I recently completed my doctoral degree in the American Studies Program at Yale University. As a union organizer, I led strikes and electoral campaigns alongside graduate teachers, hospitality workers, and community members in New York, Philadelphia, Vancouver, and other U.S. and Canadian cities, and was the founding Executive Director of New Haven Works (URL: http://newhavenworkspipeline.org/), a collaborative mission—between unions, city government, employers, and Yale University—that matches New Haven residents with local job opportunities.