This Day in History

March 12, 1912: Bread and Roses Strike is Successful

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

On March 12, 1912, most of the demands of labor unions were met in the 1912 Lawrence textile strike. This was an historic strike that united workers across many traditional barriers including language, nationality, gender, and age.

Labor leader Eugene Debs said:

The victory at Lawrence, one of the most decisive and far-reaching ever won by organized workers, demonstrated the power and invincibility of industrial unity backed by political solidarity.

While workers returned to the mills, the campaign continued to free Joseph James Ettor, Arturo Giovannitti, and Joseph Caruso who had been arrested during the strike. (They were acquitted on Nov. 26, 1912.)

Singing Strike 1912 | Zinn Education Project

Demonstration at the trial of Ettor and Giovannitti. Women hold aloft newspapers whose headlines talk about the trial, including “Solidarity,” “Il Proletario,” “The Free Press,” and “The National Rip-Saw.” Source: Walter P. Reuther Library.

Read more at the Digital Public Library of America.

Find free classroom lessons and other resources below for teaching about the Bread and Roses strike.