• Lawrence Flag Parade, Columbus Day, October 12, 1912.

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    Lawrence Flag Parade, Columbus Day, October 12, 1912
    • Date
    • 1912
    • Description
    • Item is titled “Lawrence’s Flag parade” and continues to read “Columbus Day Saturday, Oct. 12, ’12. 32,000 enthusiastic paraders, with 14 divisions and 20 bands. Viewed by 65,000 people, everybody carrying the glorious stars and stripes”.... more
      Item is titled “Lawrence’s Flag parade” and continues to read “Columbus Day Saturday, Oct. 12, ’12. 32,000 enthusiastic paraders, with 14 divisions and 20 bands. Viewed by 65,000 people, everybody carrying the glorious stars and stripes”. There are 6 photographs: “Menders and burlers from the Wood and Washington Mills pledging allegiance to the flag”; “Ald. Maloney Mayor’s secretary O’Connell pinning flag buttons on young ladies at City Hall”; Brig. Gen. W.H. Donovan, Chief Marshall of the parade”; The living flag presented by girls from Father James T. O’Reilly’s parish”; The parade passing in review on Common Street”; The raising of Old Glory on the Common, by Commander John N. Towle, Post 39, G.A.R. Lawrence, Massachusetts. Printed by Rushforth’s Critic Press, 246 Essex St., Lawrence, Mass. In the upper left hand photo (partially missing) the banner reads “For God and country the stars and stripes forever. The red flag never! A protest against the I.W.W., its principles and its methods”. Title from item. The Lawrence textile workers strike of 1912 began January 12th and ended March 14 of that year. 27,000 workers were affected and the cost would be figured at around $3,000,000 in lost wages, revenue, extra expense in policing, and harm to the general business community. 500 people were arrested and 2 died of injuries incurred during altercations. The result was an increase in wages from 5 to 25 percent, a modification of the “premium system,” and a 25 percent increase in overtime work. In a broader perspective, textile workers throughout New England were given a wage increase of 5 to 7 percent. The International Workers of the World (IWW) or Wobblies conducted the strike. The local police department was unable to control the mass of demonstrators. The Metropolitan Park Police Department was sworn in to increase the force from 84 to 200 officers. The state militia was also called in. The strike ended March 14 with a 3 to 25 percent increase in wages. The aftermath of the strike rippled throughout the industrial northeast. On September 29, Carlo Tresca, an IWW leader, led a parade through the streets of Lawrence. The streets of the city saw images of red flags and banners proclaiming “No God; No Master!” On Oct. 2, Mayor Scanlon appealed “to the patriotic and law respecting people pf Lawrence.” He urged citizens to wear US flags on their lapels until Thanksgiving as a rebuke against the creed no God no master. His theme would be For God and country. Within a day the city was decorated in and out with red, white, and blue and plans were being made for a patriotic Columbus Day parade. The parade started smartly at 9:00 AM and proceeded 90 minutes down Essex Street. It included school children, lodges, ladies clubs, military organizations, church and scout groups, bands, and politicians. 32,000 participated and another 25,000 cheered them on. The only group not invited (and, in fact, banned) was the IWW. The most significant event of the day was the flag raising n the Common by members of the local GAR chapter. Some say 60,000 people were in attendance waving flags over their heads making the crowd appear to be an undulating wave of red, white, and blue. The Lawrence textile Strike is of great significance in the march of the history of the United States. There were other strikes before and after, but the strike of 1912 was a milestone for the city. It was also a milestone for labor history, the textile industry, American immigration, and the development of cities and towns in the northeast. The Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912 is remembered during recent years with the Bread & Roses Heritage Festival on the Campagnone Common in Lawrence held, appropriately, on Labor Day. Date from item. less
    • Rights
    • The rights to this image may be restricted.
    • Partner
    • Lawrence Public Library; Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Lawrence Public Library

  • For God and Country, 1912.

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    For God and Country, 1912
    • Date
    • 1912
    • Description
    • For God and Country, 1912. Title from item. Exhibited: "Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History" Digital Public Library of America online exhibition.
    • Rights
    • The rights to this image may be restricted. Contact the Lawrence History Center for more information.
    • Partner
    • Lawrence History Center; Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Lawrence History Center

  • Jonas Smolskas: Third Victim of the 1912 Lawrence Strike.

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    Jonas Smolskas: Third Victim of the 1912 Lawrence Strike
    • Date
    • 1912
    • Description
    • Exhibited: "Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History" Digital Public Library of America online exhibition.
    • Rights
    • The rights to this image may be restricted. Contact the Lawrence History Center for more information.
    • Partner
    • Lawrence History Center; Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Lawrence History Center

  • IWW’s Bill Haywood (center in dark hat and overcoat) marching with strikers on Merrimack Street in Lowell, Massachusetts.

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    IWW
    • Date
    • 1912
    • Creator
    • Bain News Service, publisher
    • Rights
    • No known restrictions on publication.
    • Partner
    • Library of Congress ; Digital Commonwealth

There were other strikes before and after the Lawrence Textile Strike, but it was a milestone for the city, and more broadly, for labor history, the textile industry, and American immigration. 27,000 workers were affected with positive immediate results:  wage increases from five to 25 percent, overtime pay, and a modification of the “premium system.”  In a broader perspective, the aftermath of the strike rippled throughout New England as textile workers were given a wage increase of five to seven percent. 

On September 29, Carlo Tresca, an IWW leader, led a parade through the streets of Lawrence.  Participants carried red flags and banners proclaiming “No God; No Master!”   On October 2, Mayor Scanlon appealed “to the patriotic and law respecting people of Lawrence.” He urged citizens to wear US flags on their lapels until Thanksgiving as a rebuke. A patriotic Columbus Day parade, led by Father O'Reilly and pronouncing "For God and Country!" took place. The IWW was banned from the event.  . On Saturday evening, October 19, Jonas Smolskas, a mill spinner, was assaulted for wearing an IWW button on his jacket rather than an American flag pin.  He died three days later as a result of his injuries.