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Clara Lemlich Sparks an Uprising

Clara Lemlich made a spontaneous speech at Cooper Union on this date in 1909 that sparked the “Uprising of the 20,000,” an industry-wide strike of shirtwaist workers mobilized by the new International Ladies Garment Workers Union. “I want to say a few words!” shouted Lemlich, a 23-year-old garment worker, in Yiddish, following AFL leader Samuel Gompers’ […]

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September 4: The Great Tailors' Strike

Twelve thousand New York tailors went out on strike on this date in 1894 to protest the sweatshop system that exploited their labor for half a year and then gave them no work off for the other half. According to The Outlook (September 15, 1894), a New York magazine, their demands were “for a ten […]

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November 23: The Uprising of the 20,000

More than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women, launched an eleven-week strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry on this date in 1909 — the largest strike by women in American history. Assaulted by goons, arrested by cops, lacking a substantial strike fund, the young women endured winter picketing, hunger, and harsh treatment in the […]

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A Blighted Passover

A Reminisence by Sam Liptzin, translated from the Yiddish by Max Rosenfeld Originally published in the April, 1961 issue of Jewish Currents IT WAS THE DAY BEFORE Passover, 1910 or 1911. I was working on Mangin Street on the lower East Side in New York, in a shop that belonged to two partners, Goldstein and […]

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