This Day in History

Sept. 5, 1917: Federal Raids on IWW

Time Periods: World War I: 1910 - 1919
Themes: Labor

On Sept. 5, 1917, in 48 coordinated raids across the country, in a practice later known as the Palmer Raids, federal agents seized records, destroyed equipment and books, and arrested hundreds of activists involved with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Among the arrested was William “Big Bill” Haywood, a leader of the IWW, for the “crimes of labor” and obstructing the war.

Arrested later in the month as part of the same raids was Ben Fletcher, one of the leaders of IWW Local 8, the longest lasting interracial union of the World War I era.

Below are resources for teaching outside the textbook about labor history.