Today in Labor History – November 17th

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Ben Reitman

 

The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen was founded on this date in 1785 in a tavern in New York City. The Society, which still exists today, created a library, clubhouse, bank and school for their apprentices, mechanics, tradesmen and their families – 1785

Ben Reitman, hobo organizer, anarchist and one time partner of Emma Goldman, died on this date in 1942. Reitman served as a doctor for hobos and the downtrodden and participated in numerous free speech fights and anarchist causes, getting beaten, tarred and feathered, jailed, and run out of town for his troubles, most notably during the San Diego free speech fight. He also wrote the book, Boxcar Bertha – 1942

International Brotherhood of Longshoremen change name to Longshoremen’s Association – 1959

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Sister of The Road: The Autobiography of Boxcar Bertha – as told to Dr. Ben Reitman (NABAT)

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