Bread & Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream

Book – Non-fiction. By Bruce Watson. 2006. 352 pages. The riveting story of one of the most remarkable strikes in U.S. history.

  • Time Periods: World War I: 1910 - 1919, 20th Century | Themes: Immigration, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: Adult, High School | Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction

On Jan. 12, 1912, an army of textile workers stormed out of the mills in Lawrence, Mass., commencing what has since become known as the “Bread and Roses” strike. Based on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories, Watson reconstructs a Dickensian drama involving thousands of parading strikers from fifty-one nations, unforgettable acts of cruelty, and even a protracted murder trial that tested the boundaries of free speech.  [Publisher's description.]

ISBN: 9780143037354 | Published by Penguin.

Related Resources
  • BREAD AND ROSES: How the 99 Percent Beat the 1 Percent (And Why You Won’t Hear Much About It). Essay by Bruce Watson on how the GOP can misuse the term “class-warfare” because the history and true understanding of class warfare as represented by the Bread & Roses/Lawrence strike and inequities today are missing from textbooks and public understanding. Watson says: “”As we move deeper into this election year, expect to hear “class warfare” chanted like a mantra. But don’t expect to hear much about the ‘Bread and Roses strike’ . . . because it doesn’t fit the mold of mainstream American history.. . Only when people don’t know their own tumultuous history, when its collective struggles have been neglected or erased, can ‘class warfare’ be called un-American.” Read full essay.
  • Classroom resources on the Bread and Roses/Lawrence Strike including lessons, primary documents, websites, and young adult literature.

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