Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history

Archive for the category “1860-1869”

June 9, 1865

Image

Librarian, trade union activist, and writer Helen Marot is born in Philadelphia. Marot’s work investigating child labor in New York led to the enactment of the state’s 1903 Compulsory Education Act. She served as executive secretary of the New York Women’s Trade Union League and was an advocate for children and women workers throughout her life.

May 10, 1869

Image

Six years after the groundbreaking, workers complete the First Transcontinental Railroad, which joined the Union Pacific Railroad (built east from Sacramento) and the Central Pacific Railroad (built west from Omaha). The railroad was built primarily by Irish and Chinese immigrant laborers.

February 22, 1860

Image

3,000 union shoemakers on strike in Lynn, Massachusetts, meet to form committees and guards to prevent violence and keep scabs from coming into the city.  Within a week, the strike spread throughout New England to include 20,000 workers in 25 towns.  President Abraham Lincoln told a reporter that he was “glad to see that a system of labor prevails in New England under which laborers can strike when they want to.”

February 4, 1869

Image

William “Big Bill” Haywood was born. Haywood was a leader of the Western Federation of Miners, a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and an advocate of industrial unionism. “Labor produces all wealth; all wealth belongs to the producer thereof.”

January 10, 1860

Image

The Pemberton Mill – a five-story brick textile factory in Lawrence, Massachusetts – collapses from excessive load, killing dozens of workers instantly and trapping many more in the rubble.  An estimated 145 workers died and 166 were injured in the collapse and subsequent fire that broke out, the majority of whom were young Irish women.

December 6, 1869

Image

After efforts to get the National Labor Union to integrate failed, 214 African American delegates meeting in Washington, D.C., create the Colored National Labor Union.  Isaac Myers was the CNLU’s founding president; Frederick Douglas became its president in 1872.

September 6, 1869

Image

A massive fire in the only shaft of the Avondale Colliery in Plymouth Township, Pennsylvania, kills 110 anthracite mine workers, making it one of the largest mining disasters in Pennsylvania history.  After the disaster, the state’s General Assembly enacted legislation establishing safety regulations for the industry, making Pennsylvania the first state to enact such legislation.  The law also mandated that there must be at least two entrances to underground mines.

July 28, 1869

Image

Women shoemakers in Lynn, Massachusetts, form the Daughters of St. Crispin, demanding pay equal to that of men.  It was modeled on and supported by the Knights of St. Crispin, the national shoe workers union, which went on record supporting equal pay for equal work.  The Daughters of St. Crispin is recognized as the first national union of women.

June 17, 1864

Image

20 workers are killed and many others seriously injured in an explosion at the U.S. Arsenal in Washington, D.C.  The workers were girls and young women, mostly Irish immigrants, making ammunition for the Union Army.  The funeral procession, which included President Abraham Lincoln, stretched for more than a mile.  A monument was erected in the Congressional Cemetery, where 17 of the workers were buried.

June 9, 1865

Image

Librarian, trade union activist, and writer Helen Marot is born in Philadelphia.  Marot’s work investigating child labor in New York led to the enactment of the state’s 1903 Compulsory Education Act.  She served as executive secretary of the New York Women’s Trade Union League and was an advocate for children and women workers throughout her life.

Post Navigation