Wednesday, November 29 @ 6:00 – 8:00pm
Old North Foundation Speaker Series
Still They Persisted: What a 105 Year Old Strike in Lawrence, MA Can Teach Us About Organization and Social Change
Speaker: Robert Forrant
Tickets: “pay what you will” donation
The 1912 Bread & Roses Strike in Lawrence, MA teaches us much about how positive social change is made. The persistence exhibited 105 years ago built strength out of diversity and won a hard fought strike against powerful woolen mill owners. Professor Forrant will discuss this impressive strike, proved effective largely due to its level of organization and collaboration across ethnic and gender lines. Thousands of workers—the majority women—engaged in a well-organized walkout, standing firm against entrenched mill owners and their militia and police. Workers maintained soup kitchens and nurseries for children. Meetings were simultaneously translated into nearly 30 languages. Representatives from every nationality formed a 50-person strike leadership group. Immigrant workers, male and female, stood together and won!
Join Robert Forrant and Bernard Trubowitz, museum educator, immediately following the lecture for a reception and Community Conversation focused on the state of labor in the United States today. How does our past inform the anti-worker, anti-immigrant climate we find ourselves in? Registration is required for the second part of the evening.
Robert Forrant, on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Lowell since 1994, is Distinguished University Professor of History and director of the department’s graduate program. A board member of the Lawrence History Center, he is on the editorial board of Mass Benchmarks, a joint publication of the UMass President’s Office and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. In 2012 he worked extensively on programs dedicated to the centennial anniversary of the Bread and Roses Strike. He has been principal historian on numerous projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lowell National Historical Park, and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, which honored him with their public history commendation in 2015.