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RS Origins: Bread and roses (45) Lyr/Chords Add: BREAD AND ROSES (James Oppenheim) 18 Jan 98

Here is the info from my personal songbook, presently residing on my hard drive...


From: The Digital Tradition Folk Song Database - downloaded direct from the Internet
And Lift Every Voice! Songbook - words in brackets are from here

Words by James Oppenheim

Music: Per Lift Every Voice! Songbook: Music by Martha Coleman; Arranged by David Labovitz. No date is given to this tune, but it must predate the first printing of the songbook in 1953.

Per The Digital Tradition Folk Song Database: Music: Mimi Farina, 1984; @political @mill @work @feminist; filename[ BRD&ROSE; play.exe BRD&ROSE

There is a discrepancy here. The tune that plays in Digital Tradition at "Click Here to Play," attributed to Mimi Farina, 1984, is the *same* as that in the Lift Every Voice! Songbook, attributed to Martha Coleman, predating 1953. Was Mimi Farina publishing music as early as 1953? Is it possible her tune is an adaptation of Martha Coleman's, rather than a completely new one? ... Need further information to clarify this!

Information from Lift Every Voice! Songbook:

This song came out of the great Lawrence, Massachusetts textile strike of 1912. Most of the strikers were women who worked in the textile mills and during the course of the struggle they raised the stirring slogan of "Bread and Roses!" James Oppenheim, inspired by the strike and the slogan wrote this poem which was later set to music by Martha Coleman.

Chords from Lift Every Voice!:
E - G m B7 / - - E - / - - A - / - - G A /
G - C 7 F m / - - E - / A - E - / B7 - E - /

As we go (come) marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: (")Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!(")

As we go (come) marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts (can) starve as well as bodies; ("G)give us bread, but (and) give us roses.(")

As we go (come) marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for (song of) bread.(;)
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.(--)
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses(,) too.

As we go (come) marching, marching, we bring the greater days,(;)
The rising of the women means the rising of the race (us all).
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories:(,) Bread and roses, bread and roses.

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts (can) starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

Further information from - Rose Schneiderman
- Jewish Women's History Week - March 2 - 9, 1997
- in The Jewish Women's Archive Web Site

"What the woman who labors wants is the right to live, not simply exist... the worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too." - Rose Schneiderman

Eight-year-old Rose Schneiderman arrived in New York City from Poland in 1890 with her parents and three younger brothers. Five years later, after spending time in an orphanage when her poverty-stricken and recently widowed mother was unable to feed the family, Schneiderman quit school to support her mother and baby sister. Her first job in a department store demanded 64 hours of work for subsistence wages.

It was as a sewing machine operator that Schneiderman organized the first women's local of the Jewish socialist union, United Cloth, Hat, Cap and Millinery Workers. "All of a sudden . . . not lonely any more," Schneiderman had discovered "that poverty was not ordained . . . working people could help themselves." The energy and companionship that she found through union organizing fueled Schneiderman's leadership for the rest of her life, serving as the basis of the "family" of cross-class women activists who supported her throughout the years ahead.

Through her forty-five year involvement as a leader of the Women's Trade Union League, Schneiderman organized countless strikes, trained young leaders, helped negotiate labor disputes, and worked to establish continuing education programs for female workers. She was an extremely popular speaker who travelled throughout the country enlisting support for labor and women's suffrage. She ran for the United States Senate in 1920 and was the only woman appointed in Roosevelt's National Recovery Administration in 1933. Her influence, commitment and persistence were crucial in drafting and passing much of the legislation that has long been taken for granted by workers in the United States including: social security; worker's compensation; the elimination of child labor; maternity leave; safety laws; minimum wage; and unemployment insurance.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 11-Jun-02.

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