Remembering the Fallen
The first of three known causalities of the 1912 Textile Strike was Anna LoPizzo. Her death on January 29th remains a mystery. It occurred when a shot was fired into a crowd of scuffling strikers and police. A bystander, LoPizzo was struck in the chest by a bullet and died. Strikers claimed the shot came from police; police accused the strikers.
By order of Governor Foss (also a mill owner), an additional twelve companies of infantry and two troops of cavalry were brought in to Lawrence to enforce order after Lopizzo's death. Parades, open air meetings, and gatherings of three or more were forbidden. Tensions were high, militia were on the streets.
On January 30, a large group, including Lebanese musicians, gathered to accompany the strikers, who often sang as part of their demonstrations. The Lebanese band members that day included John Ramey, 20, a coronet player.
In no time, a militia detachment approached the banned rally, exchanges were made, and the militia processed in a charge-bayonet position. As Ramey retreated he was struck in the back by a bayonet. He died that same day.
On Thursday, February 1st, John Ramey’s service was held at St. Anthony’s Church. Big Bill Haywood said on Feb. 2, 1912, at Chabis Hall in reference to the slayings, “Remember that you are fighting more than your own fight…you are fighting for the entire working class and you must stand together.”
A memorial stone marks the graves of Anna LoPizzo, John Ramey, and Jonas Smolskas, a Lithuanian immigrant who was killed half a year after the strike because of the pro-labor pin he wore on his lapel.