Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Frank Little, union martyr, born August 1, 1879

“Frank Little, a Union organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was born in 1879. He was a metal miner who became active in the IWW. Frank helped organize mineworkers, oilfield workers, and lumberjacks into labor unions. In 1913 he was actively involved in the “free speech” campaigns in Fresno, Peoria, Spokane, and several other towns. By 1916, Frank Little was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World General Executive Board.

Frank traveled to mining towns, logging camps, and other places where workers put in long hours and received little pay. He stood up to the company bosses and their hired thugs by educating and organizing workers so that they could one day enjoy the good life that only the bosses enjoyed. He was a man who actively put his principles into action each and every day, knowing the company bosses could jail him on trumped up charges or be shot by a Pinkerton thug at any time.

During the summer of 1917 Frank had been helping to organize copper workers in a strike against the Anaconda Copper Company, near Butte Montana. On August 1, 1917 Frank Little was forcibly taken from the boarding house he was staying at in Butte and was lynched by thugs employed by Anaconda Copper. No one was ever charged in his murder and the state legislature responded to the lynching by outlawing militant unionism.

A black steel sculpture depicting two thugs carrying Frank’s limp body, stands near the site of the boarding house where the thugs roused Frank Little from his sleep.”

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