By Norm Diamond
Today’s Occupy movement is a reminder that throughout U.S. history a major engine of change has been grassroots organizing and solidarity. As an old Industrial Workers of the World song goes:
An injury to one, we say’s an injury to all,
United we’re unbeatable, divided we must fall.
—“Dublin Dan” Liston, The Portland Revolution
Major history textbooks, however, downplay the role of ordinary people in shaping events, especially those who formed labor unions and used the strike to assert their rights. One of the most significant strikes in U.S. history occurred exactly 100 years ago, in the Lawrence, Mass. textile mills, and yet it merits barely a mention in the most widely used U.S. history textbooks.Read more »
Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 18 pages.
Role play on the 1912 Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Mass.
Teaching Guide. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 1988. 184 pages.
Role plays and writing activities project high school students into real-life situations to explore the history and contemporary reality of employment (and unemployment) in the U.S.
Article and slideshow. 2012.
University of Massachusetts Lowell students study the Bread and Roses Strike and create a poster project, viewable as an online slideshow.
Article. By Robert Forrant. 2013.
The author challenges the common myth that the Bread and Roses Strike was spontaneous.
Reading for Teachers. By Bill Bigelow. 7 pages.
Author describes how students applied strategies from the Lawrence strike to their own present day activism.
Book – Non-fiction. By Bruce Watson. 2006. 352 pages. The riveting story of one of the most remarkable strikes in U.S. history.Read more »
Book – Non-fiction. By Susan Campbell Bartoletti. 2003. Describes the conditions and treatment that drove working children to strike, from the mill workers’ strike in 1834 and the coal strikes at the turn of the century to the children who marched with Mother Jones in 1903.Read more »
Book – Non-fiction. By Robert Forrant and Susan Grabski. 2013. 128 pages.
Images, documents, and quotes tell the story of the 1912 landmark strike.
Books – Non-fiction. By Howard Zinn. 2005. 702 pages.
Howard Zinn’s groundbreaking work on U.S. history. This book details the lives and facts that are rarely included in textbooks — an indispensable teacher and student resource.
Book – Fiction. By Katherine Paterson. 2006. 275 pages.
Moving young adult historical-fiction novel based on a major strike in Lawrence, Mass., in 1912.
Film. Ken Loach. 2001. 106 min.
A compelling, fictionalized account of an actual labor campaign in Los Angeles.
Song. Reprinted from Labor Notes 2007.
Links issues of economic security and quality of life, also addresses the role of women in the struggle for justice.
Website. Comprehensive collection of digitized documents, news, and calendar of events regarding the historic 1912 Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Mass.Read more »