Today in Labor History April 24, 1704: The first domestic newspaper was published in colonial America, “The Boston News-Letter.” John Campbell, a postmaster, published the paper, which ran until 1776.
April 24, 1800: President John Adams established the Library of Congress. He allocated $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.” The LOC is the oldest federal cultural institution in America. And it also one of the largest libraries in the world. Many of the maps used in the research for “Anywhere But Schuylkill” were from the LOC.
Today in Labor History April 24, 1837: A fire in Surat, India, killed 500 people and destroyed 9,000 homes.
April 24, 1877: The Russian Empire declared war on the Turkish Empire. The war lasted from 1877 to 1878. The Russian coalition won, however, both sides committed massacres and ethnic cleansing. No one knows how many people died. But one historian claims that up to 300,000 Muslims died just in Bulgaria.
1910s and the Wobblies
Today in Labor History April 24, 1913: A IWW strike broke out at Pilchuck, WA. The men demanded the right to organize. They also called for cleaner bunkhouses and food, and a fire escape to be put on the three-story bunk house at the mill.
April 24, 1913: One hundred seventy-five men struck against the two electric companies of Stockton, CA. They demanded a raise of fifty cents. The strike was led by the IWW.
Today in Labor History April 24, 1915: The Turkish government arrested 250 Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul. This marked the beginning of the Armenian genocide. The Ottomans had recently lost the Battle of Sarikamish. They blamed their loss on Armenian treachery. At first, they arrested and deported Armenians. But then they sent over one million women and children on a death march to the Syrian desert. During the march, they starved and raped the Armenians. Overall, they killed one million people, or 90% of the Armenian population. The genocide also destroyed two thousand year’s-worth of Armenian civilization in Asian Minor.
The Easter Rising
April 24, 1916: The Easter rising began in Dublin. The rebels were led by James Connolly and Patrick Pearce. They tried to end British rule and create an independent Ireland. The armed uprising lasted six days. Both men and women participated. 485 people died in the fighting, including 143 British soldiers and cops. The rest were mostly Irish civilians. The British took 3,500 prisoners and sent 1,800 to internment camps. They also executed sixteen of the rebel leaders, sparking outrage among the Irish public.
James Connolly was an Irish republican, socialist and union leader. Prior to the Easter Rising, he lived in Scotland and participated in Scottish socialist organizations. After that, he emigrated to the U.S., where he joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). He also founded the Irish Socialist Federation in New York. In Ireland, he was a leader of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. And he participated in the Dublin lock-out, one of the largest and most severe labor disputes in Irish history.
Today in Labor History April 24, 1920: The Italian authorities put down the General Strike in Piedmont, which started on April 15. The General Strike lasted for ten days and four million workers participated.
April 24, 1954: Mumia Abu Jamal was born on this date. He is a death row activist, journalist and former Black Panther. Mumia is in prison on trumped-up charges of killing a cop. He is also extremely ill with Covid, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and a number of other maladies.
Today in Labor History April 24, 1996: Authorities arrested nineteen demonstrators in Kiev, Ukraine, during an illegal anti-nuclear protest. It was the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. 28 employees died soon after the disaster. Another 14 died in the next ten years from radiation-induced cancer. However, scientists estimate that 9,000 to 16,000 people will die in Eurasia because of the radiation.
April 24, 1999: The International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union shut down all West Coast shipping in solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal. They prevented all loading and unloading of ships from San Diego to Bellingham, Washington. The union supported Mumia because of his long-standing support for them. Also because of the recent police murders of Amadou Diallo, Tyisha Miller and other African Americans.
Today in Labor History April 24, 2013: An eight-story garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed. The disaster killed 1,129 workers and injured 2,515. A day earlier, someone noticed cracks in the structure. However, factory officials, who had contracts with Benneton and other major U.S. labels, insisted the workers return to the job.