Talk:Bread and Roses

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Untitled[edit]

The song is old enough to be public domain. -- Jmabel 05:20, Jun 16, 2004 (UTC)

The Poem by James Oppenheim is old enough(1912); the music by Mimi Farina is not (1976). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.227.53.207 (talkcontribs) 12:01, 20 May 2005

Origins[edit]

Also, I believe recent scholarship has shown that the slogan did not emerge from the Lawrence strike. Does anyone else know more on this? - Jmabel | Talk 04:17, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

See http://www.boondocksnet.com/labor/history/bread_and_roses_history.html
There are even earlier claims on pages linked from http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/qt-s_ros.html (though I'm not sure how well documented, and apparently not including the specific juxtaposition "bread and roses"). Churchh 20:27, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Bruce Watson's Bread and Roses (ISBN 0-670-03397-9) argues that the slogan did not emerge from the Lawrence strike (pg. 256-7). His work is meticulously documented and I judge it highly reliable. I plan to incorporate it into the article relatively shortly. The relevant passage:
That's from pages 256-257, and includes five citations that I've omitted. One of them references another, more recent, work by Zwick, the author of the first link above. -David Schaich Talk/Cont 00:47, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Moving this from main article[edit]

Bread and Roses strike

The textile strike that rocked Lawrence, Massachusetts during the winter of 1912 marked one of American labor’s greatest victories. Led by the Industrial Workers of the World, striking textile workers from 30 different nationalities hung together in the face of overwhelming odds. During the grueling strike, mill owners’ planted dynamite in the tenements, hoping to implicate workers in sabotage. Police arrested strike leaders on a trumped up murder charge. Women sending their children to sympathetic families were beaten and torn from their offspring. When Congressional hearings examined conditions in Lawrence, Congressmen listened in amazement as young mill workers described their Dickensian lives. The nation was riveted by the drama, but still the strike went on. Singing, marching, feeding each other in soup kitchens, the Lawrence strikers were the very model of solidarity. Their eventual victory, after two months and two days on strike, earned them 15 percent wage increases, overtime, a slackening of a grueling “premium system,” and the respect of workers nationwide. However, contrary to popular belief, the strikers of Lawrence did NOT create or publicize the phrase “Bread and Roses” which has, through a folk process, been erroneously linked to this strike.

THE CONDITIONS Founded in 1846, Lawrence, like the nearby city of Lowell, was planned as a utopian milltown where workers would live chaperoned lives in boarding houses. The plan worked – for a while. But between 1890 and 1910, the city was overrun by immigrants – 35,000 arriving in just twenty years. By 1912, Lawrence, a.k.a. “Immigrant City,” was a tinderbox of 86,000 people packed into seven square miles. Huge mills lining the Merrimack River employed workers from all over the Western world. Conditions on the job were abominable. Looms were cranked up faster every year. Mill bosses openly insulted workers. “They treated us like dumb cattle,” one worker said. Because mills were kept closed and over-heated year round, respiratory diseases abounded. The average citizen of Lawrence lived to be almost sixty, but the average mill worker died at thirty-nine.

Conditions in the tenements were not much better, with garbage in the streets and immigrants packed into tiny unheated apartments. Infant mortality was close to 20 percent. Nonetheless, Lawrence had not had a major strike in more than two decades, and mill owners were confident their workers would remain on the job no matter what. Then on January 1, 1912, a Massachusetts law reduced the work week from 56 to 54 hours. Grateful for the shorter hours, workers nonetheless wondered whether their pay would be cut correspondingly. Several wrote to leading mill owner William Wood asking for a clue. They received no answer. By January 11, the first payday of the new year, word had spread throughout the squalid tenements where workers lived. The word – greve in Portuguese, sciopero in Italian, Streik in German -- meant one thing. A strike was brewing.

THE STRIKE BEGINS On January 12, workers in the Washington Mill opened their pay envelopes to find, as they had expected, a two-hour reduction in pay. The average pay cut was 32 cents but it was the last straw. Within seconds, workers tore through the Washington Mill, hurling spindles, slashing fabric, shouting “Short Pay! All out!” Storming along the Merrimack River, workers then attacked the massive Wood Mill, nearly 2,000 feet long and six stories high. Driven outside in the drifting snow, workers fought pitched battles with cops swinging billy clubs. The strike was on. During previous strikes, mill owners had pitted nationalities against each other, breaking walkouts by finding willing “scabs.” They might have done the same in 1912, ending the strike in a week had not the I.W.W. come to town. On January 13, organizer Joseph Ettor spoke to strikers in City Hall. “You have got to close the mills that you have caused to shut down, tighter than you have them now,” Ettor told the gathering. He cautioned against any more violence, noting that “All the blood that is spilled in a strike is your blood.” Then the twenty-six year old leader, a veteran of several previous strikes, formed a strike committee. Like a model U.N., the committee consisted of representatives from fourteen separate nationalities. Throughout the strike, committee members would translate speeches, rally each other, and vote on every move. Following another burst of violence that Monday, the strike settled down as workers heeded Ettor’s advice. Soon they were parading through the streets, singing, vowing to stay out as long as it took. But they would have to survive without pay in a city whose streets were lined with bayonet-toting state militia hired to keep the peace and protect the mills.

THE DYNAMITE PLOT To mill owners, a man like Joseph Ettor – a radical with a gift for oratory in English, Italian, Yiddish, Hungarian and Polish -- was very dangerous. A week after his arrival, dynamite was discovered in a cobbler shop next door to where he picked up his mail. The discovery sent chills through the city. Were workers planning to blow up the mills? But police soon became suspicious. Why had a stranger delivered the dynamite to two workers’ homes? Why had a city official known exactly where the dynamite would be found? On January 29, the strike was starting its third week when violence erupted at dawn. Workers smashed trolleys and threw scabs’ lunch pails onto the street. Some later said the “workers” were provocateurs but nothing has yet been proven. That evening at sunset, police responded to yet another riot call. As their nightsticks cracked workers’ heads, a shot rang out. A woman standing on a nearby corner fell to the snow. The strike had claimed its first victim. That night, police arrested a school board member and charged him with planting dynamite in the tenements. Hours later, they arrested Joseph Ettor and his Italian assistant, radical poet Arturo Giovannitti, charging them with being accessories to the murder, even though it was known they had been a mile from the scene. The following day, another striker, a teenage boy, died from a bayonet wound.

“BIG BILL” ARRIVES By early February, strikers were disillusioned and hungry. More than a thousand had gone back to work. The strike was breaking down and there was no one to lead it. Enter the most radical and famous labor leader of his time, “Big Bill” Haywood. Taking the reins, Haywood rallied strikers with booming speeches and daring strategy. On February 10, he masterminded the strike’s signature move. That Saturday morning, some 200 mothers dressed their hungry children in their Sunday best, took them to the train station and sent them into the care of total strangers. Future Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, then a nurse, was among the children’s escorts along with IWW leader Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. That evening at Grand Central Station in Manhattan, thousands met the “Children of Lawrence.” Welcomed into the homes of progressive and Socialist families, the skinny mill children were fed, clothed, and lavished with gifts. They wrote loving letters home to parents. Back in Lawrence, however, city officials were in shock. The “Children’s Exodus” and another that followed a week later made their proud city look as if it could not even care for its young. Police vowed it would not happen again.

CRACKDOWN On February 24, dozens of women again took children to the train station. Stepping before the crowd of mothers, the new police chief announced he would not allow any children to be sent away. When mothers tested him, a riot broke out. Police grabbed women, yanking them from screaming children and throwing them in the police wagon. Some say children were beaten; others claim that only a few women were clubbed. Police forever denied clubbing anyone. But the riot sent a wave of electricity through the city and shocked the nation. The following day, President William Howard Taft read of mothers being beaten in a Massachusetts mill town. Congressional hearings were called. Early in March, mill workers of all ages journeyed to Washington, D.C. where they told congressmen about their grievances and their lives. Mill owners sent their own representatives with their pay books proving that the average mill worker earned $8.76 an hour, not the $6 strikers claimed. Yet the children’s testimony – including the startling story of a girl who had been scalped by a mill machine – carried the day. Bad press about the Lawrence mills, as reported by Muckrakers like Ray Stannard Baker, convinced mill owners they had to settle the strike – soon.

SETTLEMENT Mill owners from throughout New England soon met in Boston. Aiming to prevent “another Lawrence” in their towns, they upped salaries by 15 percent or more. By March 12, some 275,000 mill workers across New England received raises thanks to the solidarity of workers in Lawrence. And on March 13, “Big Bill” Haywood stood in a meeting hall packed with workers. Reading the terms of the settlement, he announced, “You, the strikers of Lawrence, have won the most signal victory of any body of organized working men in the world. You have won the strike for yourselves and by your strike you have won an increase in wages for over 250,000 other textile workers in the vicinity, and that means in the aggregate millions of dollars a year. . . You are the heart and soul of the working class. Single-handed you are helpless but united you can win everything.” The next day, Haywood spoke to 10,000 on the muddy Lawrence common. Terms of a settlement were read in 14 languages. Haywood then called for a vote. With a few lone dissenters, the motion to end the strike was carried. Two weeks later, riding a train with its engine bell clanging, the “children of Lawrence” came home. But parents barely recognized their own. Many children had gained weight. All carried toys; all were dressed in new suits or blouses. On March 30, the children were paraded through the city while thousands cheered. All that remained was the trial of Joseph Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti.

THE AFTERMATH That fall, the nation watched as the two strike leaders were tried for murder. Following lengthy testimony citing the men’s peaceful speeches, both were acquitted. The “Bread and Roses” strike and its aftermath were finally over. Yet no striker had ever used the term “Bread and Roses.” First mentioned in a poem published a month before the strike, the term was not linked to the strike until 1916 when Upton Sinclair published the poem in an anthology, claiming it had been used by Lawrence strikers. Over the years, the error was compounded. The poem, “Bread and Roses,” was set to music and sung by Judy Collins and others. After years of silence about the strike, Lawrence began celebrating it in annual “Bread and Roses” festivals in the late 1970s. Today, the term is used by thousands of activists, social programs, and labor leaders.

I moved this from the main page. Not only did its addition stomp on text that was already in the article, it is unwikified and needs to be properly formatted per WP:MOS, looks like lots of good information, but the writing is unencyclopedic and POV in places. Katr67 18:58, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Bread & Roses Integrated Arts High School[edit]

Bread & Roses is the name of a NYC public school: http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/05/M685/default.htm

might belong in the legacy portion of this article, or not I don't know much about the school, just noticed it's not on the page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.89.215.42 (talk) 19:13, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

External Links Section[edit]

This section is pretty far off the guidelines. Looks like the criteria is is any business, band, organization, event etc. with the term "Bread and Roses" in their name. SIncerley, 75.24.138.102 (talk) 18:12, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

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