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International Women’s Day

Tomorrow – March 8th – is International Women’s Day, a day that was first celebrated on Feb. 28, 1910, as National Women’s Day, in the United States by the Socialist Party of America to honor the women garment workers’ strike, known as the Uprising of the 20,000 (1909-1910).  I did a search of historical newspapers and found  two relevant news items: the top one “Sunday was observed as National Women’s Day throughout the United States”; Norwich Bulletin, Norwich, CT; Feb. 24, 1913, p. 5; and “A celebration of ‘National Women’s Day’ for the socialist party will be held March 2 Sunday, 8 p.m. at Maccabees’ hall, 1109 1/2 South C St. Speaking, music, play, recitations and other interesting features are on the program”; The Tacoma Times, Feb. 26, 1913, p. 8. Clara Lemlich (above) sparked the strike when she jumped on the stage at a mass meeting and issued a call for action: “I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in generalities . . . I make a motion that we go out in a general strike.” The other photos are a tiny sampling of women’s protests: from top to bottom: Russian women on March 8, 1917,  an impetus of the Russian Revolution; the “Grand Picket” March 4, 1917, when 1,000 suffragists carrying purple, white, and gold banners marched in a freezing rain around and around the White House, demanding that President Wilson support for a federal woman suffrage amendment;  the “Women Strike for Peace and Equality”  Aug. 26, 1970, when thousands of protesting women took over the streets of cities across America.

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