On This Day
1912 – Immigrant textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, go on strike when wages are reduced in response to a mandated shortening of the work week.
The Lawrence textile strike, also known as the Bread and Roses strike, was a strike of immigrant workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912 led by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Prompted by a two-hour pay cut corresponding to a new law shortening the workweek for women, the strike spread rapidly through the town, growing to more than twenty thousand workers and involving nearly every mill in Lawrence. Starting January 1, 1912, the Massachusetts government started to enforce a law that allowed women to work a maximum of 54 hours, rather than 56 hours. Ten days later, they found out that pay had been reduced along with the cut in hours.
The strike united workers from more than 40 different nationalities. Carried on throughout a brutally cold winter, the strike lasted more than two months, from January to March, defying the assumptions of conservative trade unions within the American Federation of Labor (AFL) that immigrant, largely female and ethnically divided workers could not be organized. In late January, when a striker, Anna LoPizzo, was killed by police during a protest, IWW organizers Joseph Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti were framed and arrested on charges of being accessories to the murder.
IWW leaders Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn came to Lawrence to run the strike. Together they masterminded its signature move, sending hundreds of the strikers’ hungry children to sympathetic families in New York, New Jersey, and Vermont. The move drew widespread sympathy, especially after police stopped a further exodus, leading to violence at the Lawrence train station. Congressional hearings followed, resulting in exposure of shocking conditions in the Lawrence mills and calls for investigation of the “wool trust.” Mill owners soon decided to settle the strike, giving workers in Lawrence and throughout New England raises of up to 20 percent. Within a year, however, the IWW had largely collapsed in Lawrence.
The Lawrence strike is often referred to as the “Bread and Roses” strike. It has also been called the “strike for three loaves”. The phrase “bread and roses” actually preceded the strike, appearing in a poem by James Oppenheim published in The American Magazine in December 1911. A 1915 labor anthology, The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest by Upton Sinclair, attributed the phrase to the Lawrence strike, and the association stuck.
A popular rallying cry from the poem that has interwoven with the memory of the strike:
As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
Born On This Day
1807 – Ezra Cornell, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Western Union and Cornell University (d. 1874)
Ezra Cornell (/kɔːrˈnɛl/; January 11, 1807 – December 9, 1874) was an American businessman, politician, and philanthropist. He was the founder of Western Union, founder of Ithaca’s first library, and a co-founder of Cornell University. He also served as President of the New York Agriculture Society and as a New York state Senator.
Neil Ellwood Peart, OC (/pɪərt/; September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020) was a Canadian musician and writer best known as the drummer and primary lyricist of the rock band Rush. Peart received numerous awards for his musical performances, including an induction into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983, making him the youngest person ever so honoured.[failed verification] His drumming was renowned for its technical proficiency, and his live performances for their exacting nature and stamina.
Peart was born in Hamilton, Ontario and grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario (now part of St. Catharines). During adolescence, he floated between regional bands in pursuit of a career as a full-time drummer. After a discouraging stint in England to concentrate on his music, Peart returned home, where he joined Rush, a Toronto band, in mid-1974.
Early in his career, Peart’s performance style was deeply rooted in hard rock. He drew most of his inspiration from drummers such as Keith Moon, Ginger Baker and John Bonham, players who were at the forefront of the British hard rock scene. As time passed, he began to emulate jazz and big band musicians Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. In 1994, Peart became a friend and pupil of jazz instructor Freddie Gruber. It was during this time that Peart decided to revamp his playing style by incorporating jazz and swing components.
In addition to serving as Rush’s primary lyricist, Peart also published several memoirs about his travels. His lyrics for Rush addressed universal themes and diverse subjects including science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy, as well as secular, humanitarian, and libertarian themes. Peart wrote a total of seven nonfiction books focused on his travels and personal stories.
On December 7, 2015, Peart announced his retirement from music in an interview with Drumhead Magazine, though bandmate Geddy Lee insisted Peart was quoted out of context, and suggested Peart was “simply taking a break”. However, in January 2018, bandmate Alex Lifeson confirmed that Rush was retiring due to Peart’s health issues. During his last years, Peart lived in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, photographer Carrie Nuttall, and daughter Olivia. After a three-year illness, Peart died of glioblastoma on January 7, 2020, at age 67.
Edd Byrnes (born Edward Byrne Breitenberger; July 30, 1932 – January 8, 2020) was an American actor, best known for his starring role in the television series 77 Sunset Strip. He also was featured in the 1978 film Grease as television teen-dance show host Vince Fontaine, and was a charting recording artist with “Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)” (with Connie Stevens).
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Sergei Konstantinovich Krikalev (Russian: Серге́й Константинович Крикалёв, also transliterated as Sergei Krikalyov; born August 27, 1958) is a Russian cosmonaut and mechanical engineer. As a prominent rocket scientist, he is a veteran of six space flights and ranks third to Gennady Padalka and Yuri Malenchenko for the amount of time in space: a total of 803 days, 9 hours, and 39 minutes. He retired from spaceflight in 2007 and is currently working as vice president of Space Corporation Energia.
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