The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912: New Scholarship on the Bread & Roses Strike, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912

New Scholarship on the Bread & Roses Strike, 1st Edition

By Robert Forrant, Jurg K Siegenthaler, Charles Levenstein, John Wooding


258 pages

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Paperback: 9780895038623
pub: 2014-11-30
Hardback: 9780895038616
pub: 2014-11-30
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315230863
pub: 2016-12-05
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"In Lawrence, Massachusetts, fully one-half of the population 14 years of age or over is employed in the woolen and worsted mills and cotton mills". Thus begins the federal government's Report on Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912 . This book follows up, one hundred years later. The story's retelling offers readers an exciting reexamination of just how powerful a united working class can be. The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912 - the Bread and Roses Strike - was a public protest by 20,000 to 25,000 immigrant workers from several countries, prompted by a wage cut. Backed by skillful neighborhood organizing, supported by hundreds of acts of solidarity, and unified by a commitment to respect every striker's nationality and language, the walkout spread across the city's densely packed tenements. Defying the assumptions of mill owners and conservative trade unionists alike that largely female and ethnically diverse workers could not be organized, the women activists, as one mill boss described them, were full of "lots of cunning and also lots of bad temper. They're everywhere, and it's getting worse all the time." Events in Lawrence between January 11 and March 25, 1912, changed labor history. In this volume the authors tackle the strike story through new lenses and dispel assumptions that the citywide walkout was a spontaneous one led by outside agitators. They also discuss the importance of grasping the significance of events like the 1912 strike and engaging in the process of community remembrance. This book appeals to a wide constituency. Most directly, it is of great relevance to historians of labor, industrialization, immigration, and the development of cities, as well as researchers studying social movements. The story of the Bread and Roses Strike resonates strongly with social justice supporters, the women's movement, advocates for children's well-being, and anti-poverty organizations. Social studies and college-level teachers will find it a rich resource. Graduate-level students will find inspiration for further research. The Bread and Roses strike has excellent name recognition and has always had a considerable international audience.

Table of Contents




Introduction Robert Forrant and Jurg Siegenthaler


“‘Believe Comrades . . . the Day is Coming When Those at the End of Their Rope Will Require Struggle. It Will Be, Perhaps, Tomorrow.’

Franco-Belgian Immigrants and the 1912 Strike” Janelle Bourgeois


The Committee of Ten: The Local Heroes Who Faced Lawrence’s Mill Men and Won in 1912 Clarisse A. Poirier


In Harm’s Way: The Lawrence Textile Strike Children’s Affair Lawrence Cappello


Why Labor Won: Tactical Innovation, Failed Repression, and Turning Points in the Bread and Roses Strike Robert Biggert


The Parades: Evolving Views of God and Country and the IWW in Lawrence Ken Estey

Strike Images


The “American Dream” and the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike Frank Fletcher


Voices of Labor Militancy in Lawrence, 1912–1931 Ethan Snow


Striking Women: Massachusetts Mill Workers in the Wake of Bread and Roses, 1912–1913 Anne F. Mattina and Domenique Ciavattone


The Triangle Fire Centennial Commemoration Adrienne Sosin and Joel Sosinsky


The Cloth From Which We Are Cut: Using Music, Narration, and Images to Tell the Story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Vicki Gabriner and Linda Stern


Lessons Learned: A Comparison of the Textile and Apparel Industry of Early 19th-Century Lawrence and Lowell with China Today Virginia M. Noon


Bread and Roses: Why the Legend Lives On Robert Ross

Editors’ Biographies

Author Biographies


About the Series

Work, Health and Environment Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health