United States labor activist Louise Thompson Patterson

This video from the USA is called Louise Alone Thompson Patterson: In Her Own Words, Trailer.

Also from the series in The Independent about United States activists, with photos of the interviewees:

Louise Thompson Patterson


In Birmingham, Alabama in the 1930s, demonstrations for relief from the Depression were attacked. Police beat up speakers and raided the homes of suspected leaders.

I came to the International Workers Order (IWO) in New York as an office worker in 1933: a fraternal group for immigrant workers, it gave them a base in this country, and provided them with low-cost insurance. I expressed an interest in organising for them, so I went down to Alabama, Georgia and New Orleans, and got groups together through churches and local trade unions. This I did in 1933 and 1934. I was in Birmingham when the coal strike was on. I had gone to a meeting in a middle-class, white neighbourhood, but when I opened the door, the police were in the middle of a raid. I was so stunned. The woman who lived there tried to protect me, and said: “I have no sewing for you today.” But this one cop said, “Oh, no. That won’t go. I know you’re one of them.”

They took me off to an ancient city jail. This one, like all the others in Alabama, was segregated. About 50 black women were there in a long room. At the end of the room was one filthy bathroom. The next morning, they told me they were going to take my picture and fingerprints. I met Bull Connor [who later became Birmingham’s public safety commissioner] in the elevator. He said, “Whatcha got there?” They said, “We got one of them Yankee bitches. We ought to do like Mussolini does, put them up against the wall and shoot them.” They transferred me to the county jail. As we went in, I noticed a saying over the door about “justice” ? and here I was in prison for the crime of attending a meeting.

See also here.

Workers in the 1920s in the USA: here. And here.

The Seattle general strike in 1919: here.

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