The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #151940   Message #4059558
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
16-Jun-20 - 12:45 PM
Thread Name: Linen Industry Songs
Subject: RE: Linen Industry Songs
[From Wikipedia] The Lowell girls' organizing efforts were notable not only for the "unfeminine" participation of women, but also for the political framework used to appeal to the public. During the 1834 "turn-out" or strike, they warned that "the oppressing hand of avarice would enslave us." In the 1836 strike, this theme returned in a protest song:

Oh! isn't it a pity, such a pretty girl as I
Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die?
But I cannot be a slave, I will not be a slave,
For I'm so fond of liberty, I cannot be a slave.

(The most celebrated native son of Lowell is Jack Kerouac.)

The Bread and Roses Strike of 1912 took place in the neighbouring town of Lawrence;

As we 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 starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

James Oppenheim