Bread and Roses strike offers lessons for today
To the editor:
Before 2012 ends I believe people should remember the 100th anniversary of the 1912 “Bread and Roses” strike in Lawrence. It was overlooked because city officials and even some clergy condemned the strikers as “Godless Communists” and they were wary of the International Workers of the World union.
People were ashamed to talk about the strike. Ultimately, the strikers got more than they bargained for. Before the strike whole families worked and earned very little, only able to afford to eat bread and molasses. People worked hard and died young.
The strike introduced the first moving picket line, as the strikers were forbidden by martial law to congregate.
Many children were sent to host families out of state, which caught the attention and sympathy of the country.
Bruce Watson, who writes a column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, wrote a great book in 2005 called “Bread and Roses.” It is hard to put down. Readers owe it to themselves to learn more about this historical event with parallels in our times regarding large corporations and their employees.