Uncredited Photographer Woman Workers Led by the IWW Striking Against the Lawrence Textile Factory, Lawrence, MA 1912
During the Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912, known ever since as the Bread and Roses Strike, the predominantly immigrant woman workforce in the textile mills of Lawrence, MA walked the picket lines to roll back significant pay cuts and to get a contract offering basic job protections and rights along with an end to the brutality and exploitation they suffered while working. The strikers were so abused by local police and militias that IWW leaders Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn organized an evacuation of strikers’children from Lawrence to the homes of supporters of the strike in Boston and New York, where they would be safe and cared for. This move earned the strikers much public sympathy. Once their children were protected, the woman strikers became even more militant, eventually winning the strike.
“The IWW has been accused of putting women in the front. The truth is, the IWW does not keep them in the back…” Elizabeth Gurley Flynn