Peter Rachleff

Instructor-Working Class History   

Co-E.D. East Side Freedom Library


Peter Rachleff was trained as a labor historian by David Montgomery at the University of Pittsburgh in the mid-1970s; he earned his Ph.D. in 1981, having focused on the intersections of race and class in the development of working-class activism in the post-Civil War South.  


In 1982, Peter was hired by the Macalester College History Department where he taught for 30 years, applying David Montgomery's dictum to be active within the labor movement.  In 1985-86, Peter served as chairperson of the Twin Cities Solidarity Committee in support of the Hormel strikers, and he played a similar role in support of striking Northwest Airlines mechanics in 2005-2006.  


In 2013, Peter left Macalester College to establish, with his partner Beth Cleary, the East Side Freedom Library.  Under their direction, ESFL has become a labor hall for the community. ESFL has been not only a host for the New Brookwood Labor College, but it has provided a fertile soil within which its concerns, aspirations, and vision have blossomed.  


Peter's labor history course for NBLC will embody his experiences and perspectives–paying attention to the lives of workers on and off the job; exploring the intersections of race, class, and gender; paying attention to the relationships between the labor movement and other social movements involving working people.


Email: rachleff@macalester.edu