North Adams strike

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North Adams strike
North Adams strike breakers.jpg
Men brought in to break the strike
42°42′7.44″N 73°6′49.97″W / 42.7020667°N 73.1138806°W / 42.7020667; -73.1138806Coordinates: 42°42′7.44″N 73°6′49.97″W / 42.7020667°N 73.1138806°W / 42.7020667; -73.1138806
GoalsEight-hour day
MethodsStrikes, Protest, Demonstrations
Resulted inChinese immigrants brought in from California, replacing union workers for cheaper wages
Parties to the civil conflict
Mill management
Lead figures
Non-centralized leadership
Arrests: 2

The North Adams strike was a strike in 1870 by shoe workers of the Order of the Knights of St. Crispin, against Calvin T. Sampson's Shoe factory, in North Adams, Massachusetts. The strike itself was broken when Sampson imported seventy-five unskilled male Chinese strikebreakers, from California.


The craft union itself was eventually defeated by mechanization, although a decade later only five immigrants remained in North Adams. Those that did move out eventually moved to Boston to found their Chinatown. The United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, further restricting immigration to the country and continuing the gender imbalance that started with the laborers for many years to come.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ "On This Day..." Mass Moments. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  2. ^ "A Study of the North Adams Labor Strike, 1870". Inquiry Unlimited. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  3. ^ Gyory, Andrew. "A Shoemaker's Story". Picturing U.S. History. Retrieved 18 November 2015.


  • Anthony W. Lee (2008). A Shoemaker's Story: Being Chiefly about French Canadian Immigrants, Enterprising Photographers, Rascal Yankees, and Chinese Cobblers in a Nineteenth-Century Factory Town. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691133256.