100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Anti-Union Parade For Columbus Day In Massachusetts

In 1911 Congress enacted laws that limited the number of weekly hours that women and children could work. Factory owners reacted by reducing pay to match the shorter hours. The women and children were already working for subsistence level wages were angered by the cuts in pay and some went out on publicized strikes such as the Bread and Roses Strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The strikers were viewed as uneducated immigrants and not laborers by unions like the American Federation of Labor. This left more radical labor groups such as the International Workers of the World to step in and take control. The IWW organized all workers, regardless of skill level, immigrant status, gender or skin color.They were viewed as dangerous, un-American and perhaps worst of all, atheists. People who opposed the IWW and strikes formed the Citizens Committee to fight radicalism stating they were for God and country and against the IWW’s “principles and methods,” denouncing union leaders and members as “godless communists.”

On October 13, 1912 the Citizens Committee of Massachusetts organized a demonstration on Columbus Day called the God and Country Parade to voice opposition to the union. Lawrence, Massachusetts was draped in mill-funded flags and bunting. As many as 50,000 people marched in or watched the parade.

Menders and burlers from the Wood and Washington mills
1912 God and Country Parade
Lawrence, Massachusetts
October 13, 1912

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