Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Today in Labor History—January 1

Haitian revolution
Toussaint L'Ouverture
January 1, 1804 – Haitian slaves, led by Jean Jacques Desalines, declared independence from France, making Haiti the first free black republic in the world. The U.S. refused to recognize Haiti for the next 70 and France extracted millions in restitution, destroying any hope of ever moving out of deep poverty. The slave revolt against the French began in 1791 with the call by Dutty Boukman, a vodou priest and was led by Toussaint L'Ouverture. (From theDaily Bleed and Wikipedia; For a really great history of the Haitian revolution, please see the Black Jacobins, by H. L. R. James)

January 1, 1831 – The first issue of "The Liberator," William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist paper was printed on this date.
  (From theDaily Bleed)

January 1, 1832
 – The first meeting of the New England Anti-Slavery Society occurred on this date. (From the Daily Bleed)

January 1, 1863 – President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in all rebel states, but by no means granting equality under the law: "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to inter-marry with white people . . . and I am as much as any other man in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
(From the Daily Bleed)

January 1, 1875 – Women weavers formed a union in Fall River, Massachusetts. (From the Daily Bleed)

January 1, 1879 – Ben Reitman was born on this day. Reitman was a comrade and one-time lover of Emma Goldman, a doctor to hobos and prostitutes, and an anarchist organizer. (From the Daily Bleed)
Louis-Auguste Blanqui
 January 1, 1881 -- Paris Commune leader Louis-Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881) died on this date in Paris.

January 1, 1920 – America's first "Red Scare" began with the arrest of 2,700 people without charge. A. Mitchell Palmer, Wilson's Attorney General, ultimately arrested nearly 6,000 people on suspicion of "communism." Those who were not U.S. citizens were deported as "undesirable aliens." (From theDaily Bleed)

January 1, 1924 – IWW Lumber Workers IU120 struck the British Columbia lumber owners, calling for an 8 hour day with blankets supplied, minimum wage of $4 per day, release of all class war prisoners, no discrimination against IWW members & no censuring of IWW literature. (From the Daily Bleed and Morgan Miller, A Brief History of the IWW outside the US (1905-1999)

January 1, 1966 - 35,000 members of the Transport Workers Union and the Amalgamated Transit Union shut down 135 miles of subway and 2,200 buses in New York City, bringing huge losses to business and, consequently, a quick resolution, with a settlement being reached on January 13. (From Workday Minnesota)

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