Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hungry children - a look back to 1875

According to History of the Labor Movement in the US 1: From Colonial Times to the Founding of the AFL, the Fall River, Massachusetts textile worker strike,
called the "Great Vacation," lasted for eight weeks and ended in the workers' defeat. When the strike had stretched into its third week the discouraged workers decided to call it off. But when they discovered that the employers were now demanding more than the 10 per cent cut, they continued to hold out. On September 27, 1875, the strikers marched to the City Hall to demand bread for their starving children. They were greeted by three companies of militia and a cordon of police who prevented them from presenting their demands.

The Democratic Underground's highlights of September 27, 1875 add:

In the latter half of the 19th century, about one out of every six children between the ages of 10 and 15 were working -- in textile mills, print shops, coal mines and factories. Their labor was often critical to their families’ survival.

Why blog this?   We may not have one of every six children working, but we do have many hungry and poor children (see DCFPI's blog post "In the Wake of the Great Recession, Poverty Rates in DC Remain High for Certain Groups of Residents").

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