Aug. 1, 1917: Labor Organizer Frank Little Lynched from a Railroad Trestle


Image: By Nicole Schulman,

On August 1, 1917, labor organizer Frank Little was taken forcibly from his boarding house in Butte, Montana, and was lynched from a railroad trestle.

In the summer of 1917, Little had been helping to organize copper workers in a strike against the Anaconda Copper Company.

He also took a stand against the war, arguing that all working men should refuse to join the army and fight on behalf of their capitalist oppressors. He said in the last speech before his death,

I stand for the solidarity of labor.

He took part in the free speech campaigns of the early 20th century. In Spokane, he was sentenced to 30 days in prison for reading the Declaration of Independence.

Read more about Frank Little at the I.W.W. website.

A poster of the portrait of Frank Little by Nicole Schulman can be ordered from the IWW.


Watch the video below from the Harvey Richards Media Archive.

View resources for teaching about labor history at the Zinn Education Project.

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There are 2 comments by other visitors:

  • Two of my grand uncles were murdered by the Pinkertons and Colorado National Guard at Ludlow Colorado in 1914. This sort of crap is not unknown to my family. My mother was also a union organizer in the 1930s in Denver at the Gates Rubber Company, and was fired because of that activity – she was the executive secretary of the CEO… 🙂 I recently received from my step brother a bunch of family papers, including her AFL-CIO membership card. She was the secretary of the union!

    Response shared by Rubberman — August 1, 2016 @ 8:53 pm

  • On the Wikipedia page for this, there are 19 listed victims. This not complete as a number of victims were not identified and were buried in anonymous graves. There should be two members of the Roark/Stephens family there as well, amongst others. We will never know just how many were murdered at Ludlow. ;-(

    Response shared by Rubberman — August 1, 2016 @ 8:59 pm

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