In a new video, UAW Archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library, Gavin Strassel, shares one of the most unique and interesting objects in the library’s extensive collections: a carved wooden middle finger gifted to iconic UAW President Walter Reuther.
“Walter was a straitlaced man,” Strassel explains. “He didn’t drink or smoke. And he did not swear. So, supposedly the story goes, somebody gave this to him and said, “Walter, any time that you want to swear at somebody, but you can’t, put this on your desk and you can just point at it. The lore goes that this stayed on his desk for quite a while and it’s a unique object in the UAW archives.”