Striker's Independent Society

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"The Strikers" is a mystic society founded in 1842 [1] in Mobile, Alabama (during Mobile's first American period)[2] and participated in Carnival during New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations.[1] It is the oldest remaining mystic society in America but no longer hosts an annual parade, though in 1996 just for fun they held their first parade in 115 years (cite: "A History of the Strikers" p. 94-95 (privately published by the Society).


"The Strikers" was formed in 1842 by young men in Mobile. Despite old rumors that its formative members had been refused membership to the older Cowbellion de Rakin Society (which had been formed in year 1830 by "more sedate and astute men of the city"),[1] nobody really knows who founded it or just why (cite: "A History of the Strikers" p. 4-5 (privately published by the Society) In the beginning and until after the Civil War, its membership was limited to bachelors, and when they married the member was discharged but the pair were given a gift of silver, such as a "tete-a-tete" for sugar and cream (cite: "A History of the Strikers" p. 23 (privately published by the Society).

For fifty straight years between 1856 and its demolition in 1905, after their parade The Strikers celebrated at Temperance Hall.(cite: "A History of the Strikers" p. 67 (privately published by the Society). From 1908 upon completion of the new Battle House Hotel in Mobile, until 1945, The Strikers celebrated there, but after WWII the site has varied (cite: "A History of the Strikers" p. 109-110 (privately published by the Society).

The last great Strikers New Year's Eve Parade was for 1880 (which actually took place in January 1881), in which all three of Mobile's New Year's Eve Mystic Societies paraded together to celebrate "the Semi-Centennial of Mysticism," being the Cowbellion de Rakin Society, The Strikers, and "The T.D.S." Although The Strikers discontinued their annual street parades, up to the present they have continued to hold a masked ball on New Year's Eve.

The annual themes of The Strikers vary, but tend to be topics from history or literature (cite: "A History of the Strikers" p. 107-111 (privately published by the Society) In 1902, their theme was "Colonial Mobile" celebrating the bicentennial of Mobile's founding (1702). Members wore costumes representing the French, British, Spanish, and American periods of Mobile's history.[1]

Offshoots in New Orleans[edit]

Just as New Orleans became the capital of French Louisiana (Louisianne) about twenty years (1723) after Mobile (1702), the mystic societies of New Orleans were aided in their creation by Mobile mystic society members about 20 years after the original Mobile societies had been founded:[1]

In the 1850s six Mobilians (S.M. Todd, L.D. Allison, J.H. Pope, Frank Shaw Jr., Joseph Ellison, and William P. Ellison) moved to New Orleans and helped organize the Crescent City’s first Mardi Gras mystic society: "The Mystick Krewe of Comus" in New Orleans (1857). Most of those men were probably Cowbellions but some might have been Strikers and, in any event, The Strikers attended the first Comus ball in New Orleans (cite: "A History of the Strikers" p. 33-35 (privately published by the Society).

Throughout the 1880s Mobile's tradition of New Year's Eve mystic society parades and balls began to fade out and move to Mardi Gras. Despite an occasional abortive parade, by the end of the 1880s both the Cowbellions and the T.D.S. had completely faded from public view, and today only The Strikers remain from that early period of New Year's Eve Mysticism.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e {{cite "A History of the Strikers" p.4 (privately published by the Society). The name is and always was "The Strikers" and it was incorporated under that name in 2013.(cite: filings in Alabama Secretary of State Office). It often uses the letters "S.I.S." in its symbols, which has led some non-members and others to believe that its name was "Strikers Independent Society", but the name of the Society has always been "The Strikers".(cite "A History of the Strikers" p.8 (privately published by the Society).}}
  2. ^ Mobile's Mardi Gras history spans over 300 years, as customs changed with the ruling nations: Mobile was the capital of French Louisiana in 1702, then British in 1763, then Spanish in 1780, entered the Republic of Alabama, was declared American in 1812 (captured in 1813), a U.S. state in 1819, then Confederate in 1860, then became American again in 1865.