djn-1980-11-14-0-016When cruising the Davidson Digital Archive, I sometimes run across a certain story that evokes personal memories. Such is the case this week, when I read the Nov. 14, 1980, issue of the JN. I found an advertisement with photos of two friends of mine: Doug Fraser and Irv Bluestone. I was especially close to Doug, who was my mentor; Irv was a good professional friend. I worked with both for many years at the Walter Reuther Library at Wayne State University.

The advertisement was an announcement that on Nov. 19, 1980, Doug would receive the B’nai B’rith International Humanitarian Award. At the time, he was president of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and Irv was a vice-president of the union. The UAW boasted 1.5 million members then, and it was a powerful force in the American economic and political arenas.

It might seem they would be opposites. Doug never finished high school; Irv held a college degree. Doug was perhaps the better politician while Irv was one of Labor’s most prominent intellectuals. Yet, the two were close confidantes, superb leaders of the UAW and close friends. Together, they made a great team.

It was an honor to know them, to work with them and to learn from them. Doug and Irv were two of the wisest men I have ever known. The advertisement in the JN brought back great memories and a bit of sadness. I miss them *

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at

By Mike Smith, Detroit Jewish News Foundation Archivist


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