100 Years Later, Bread And Roses Strike Still EchoesPlay
In 1912, Lawrence, Mass. was one of the textile capitals of the world. Half of all the city's residents over the age of 14 worked in the mills.
The giant Wood Mill was the largest cloth producing factory on the planet. It alone employed 40,000 workers. The workers came from more than 30 countries, spoke more than 45 different languages and they worked in hot, dangerous, deplorable conditions. Then, on January 12, 1912, some 25,000 workers walked off the job.
"The bread and roses strike" of 1912 drew the nation's attention to the working conditions in the mills, and to the concentration of wealth and power in the United States.
We discussed the strike on its 100th anniversary, in 2012. At the time, Boston's "occupy" movement was in full swing, which left us wondering how the strike echoes a century later — in a time when attention is again begin turned to income inequality.
Ardis Cameron, professor of American and New England studies at the University of Southern Maine and author of "Radicals of the Worst Sort: The Laboring Women of Lawrence, Massachusetts."
Robert Forrant, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and chair of the Bread and Roses Centennial Committee.
This segment aired on September 1, 2014.