Today in Labor History – July 22nd

labor history july 22nd

Preparedness Day bombing

A General Strike occurred in St. Louis, as part of the national Great Strike. The St. Louis strike is generally considered the first General Strike in U.S. history. It was organized by the radical Knights of Labor and the Workingman’s Party. In addition to joining in solidarity with striking rail workers, thousands in other trades came out to fight for the 8-hour day and an end to child labor. 3,000 federal troops and 5,000 deputized police (vigilantes?) ended the strike by killing at least 18 people and arresting at least 70. – 1877

Newly unionized brewery workers in San Francisco, mostly German socialists, declare victory after the city’s breweries give in to their demands for free beer, the closed shop, freedom to live anywhere (they had typically been required to live in the breweries), a 10-hour day, a six-day work week, and a board of arbitration. – 1886

Alexander Berkman tried to assassinate Henry Clay Frick who was responsible for the deaths of nine miners killed by Pinkerton thugs on July 6, during the Homestead Strike. – 1892

A bomb was set off during a pro-war “Preparedness Day” parade in San Francisco. The city was holding a parade in honor of Preparedness day, in anticipation of the United States’ imminent entry into World War 1. During the parade, a suitcase bomb was detonated, killing ten and wounding 40 in the worst such attack in San Francisco’s history. Two labor leaders, Thomas Mooney and Warren K. Billing, were convicted in separate trials and sentenced to death, later commuted to life in prison. Further investigations found the trials to have been marred by false testimony, and the men were released in 1939 and eventually pardoned. The identity of the bombers has never been determined. – 1916

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